ACC Testifies on Need for Funding for CV Disease Research, Prevention and Treatment

On March 29 ACC CEO Jack Lewin, MD, testified on behalf of the ACC before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee about recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2013 funding for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs.

As part of his testimony, Lewin talked about the need for additional funding for cardiovascular disease research, prevention and treatment to continue advances in the field and to combat the growing burden of the disease. He noted that dramatic progress in the fight against heart disease due to federally supported research for advances in diagnostic tests, drug and device therapies, surgical innovations, prevention, and public education, has caused mortality related to cardiovascular disease to drop by 30 percent in the past decade.

“However, the burden of heart disease is growing,” said Lewin.  Even with these advances, cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in the U.S., with 1 in every 3 deaths attributed to heart disease. Cardiovascular disease cost the nation more than $444 billion in health care expenditures and lost productivity in 2010 alone – and these costs are expected to rise given the aging of the population. “We have a lot of work to do,” added Lewin.

Lewin urged the subcommittee to commit a strong investment to continue the strides in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The College is encouraging funding recommendations for the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Congenital Heart Disease Surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Division, CDC WISEWOMAN Program, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HSRA) Rural and Community Automated External Defibrillators (AED) Program.

“The pipeline of science coming is breathtaking,” said Lewin. “The U.S. has led this endeavor and we need to continue so innovation does not move offshore.”

The College’s written comments also included the example of the Million Hearts Initiative, launched by HHS in 2011 to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years, as an example of a program currently in place to improve the understanding of the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. ACC has committed to the program through its PINNACLE Registry, which collects data on patient interactions such as aspirin prescriptions, blood pressure measures, smoking cessation status and consulting, lipid panels, and diabetes screening, and its CardioSmart National Care Initiative, which offers everyday strategies for healthy living and is a platform that can be used to educate those living with or at risk for heart disease.

The College was one of 20 organizations selected to testify out of 125 requests. Other organizations included American Association for Dental Research, American Nurses Association and the Children’s Hospital Association. 

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