ACC Advocacy Efforts Inspire Progress on VHD Research, CV Rehab; Protecting Medicare Access to CV Services

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Oct. 20 held a public health hearing during which two of ACC’s legislative priorities were discussed – the Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities Legacy Act (CAROL Act) (H.R. 1193) and the Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act of 2021 (H.R. 1956). The two bills were priorities during ACC’s 2021 Legislative Conference.

The CAROL Act would authorize a grant program administered by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to support research on valvular heart disease (VHD) and encourage the use of technological imaging and precision medicine to generate data on individuals with VHD. In addition, the legislation would convene a workshop of subject matter experts to identify research needs and opportunities and instruct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create education and public awareness programs regarding symptoms of VHD and effective strategies for preventing sudden cardiac death.

The cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) legislation would accelerate and expand the ability of physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac rehab programs under Medicare. Under the legislation, these practitioners to administer programs in their offices, prepare and sign treatment plans, and prescribe exercise. The bill would expedite the effective date of these changes to Jan. 1, 2022.

In addition, thanks in large part to efforts from ACC’s Legislative Conference and other grassroots efforts, 247 members of Congress signed the Bera/Bucshon letter, led by Reps. Ami Bera, MD (CA) and Larry Buschon, MD (IN) urging House leadership to stop to Medicare payment cuts slated for Jan. 1, 2022, which would threaten access to cardiovascular care for Medicare beneficiaries.

Clinical Topics: Cardiovascular Care Team, Valvular Heart Disease

Keywords: ACC Advocacy, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Heart Valve Diseases, Medicare, Nurse Clinicians, Public Health, Cardiac Rehabilitation

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