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Saving and Improving Lives Through wcm/@global/documents/... · PDF file It’s part of our effort to ... Over the past year, our volunteers, staff and partners helped pass nearly

Jul 27, 2020




  • One important way the American Heart Association saves and improves lives is by

    advocating for laws that help people live healthier lives. It’s part of our effort to build

    a “culture of health,” which simply means creating environments where the healthy

    choice is the easy choice.

    Over the past year, our volunteers, staff and partners helped pass nearly 70 state or

    local laws or regulations designed to help Americans enjoy longer, healthier lives,

    free of heart disease and stroke. Here’s a look at these exciting victories:

    More than 1 million people gained access to health insurance coverage through expansion of the Medicaid program in Indiana, New Hampshire, Montana and Pennsylvania. Efforts continue in other states as well.

    Minnesota recently added coverage for preventive screenings and treatments for Medicaid enrollees. Programs to help people quit smoking are now covered for Medicaid beneficiaries in Georgia, including counseling and FDA- approved medications.

    Nine more states passed measures to screen infants for congenital heart defects, meaning nearly 900,000 more babies will be screened each year. The simple, inexpensive, lifesaving pulse oximetry test is now required in more than 40 states. Measures passed this year in Colorado, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

    Increased Access to Health Care

    Saving and Improving Lives

    Through Advocacy

    Massachusetts advocates helped secure $12.5 million to enhance roadways that make it easier for people to walk and ride bicycles. Washington advocates helped secure $15.3 million for bike and pedestrian safety projects, as well as $6.75 million for Safe Routes to Schools – more than double the amount in the previous budget.

    More than 16 million people have better access to safe places to exercise thanks to shared-use liability laws passing in Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia. These laws enable schools to open their facilities to people for physical activity after hours.

    Helping Americans Get More Active

  • More than 1.3 million students will graduate from high school with CPR skills, thanks to new laws requiring this lifesaving skill in New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Indiana, Oregon, Connecticut and San Francisco. 24 states now require CPR for high school graduation. Advocates in Delaware and North Dakota were able to secure funding to train students in CPR as well.

    Mississippi and Texas funded registries for both stroke patients and those who suffer “STEMI” heart attacks – a deadly type of heart attack requiring immediate care. In addition, North Dakota also increased funding for its STEMI registry, and Minnesota invested more in its state stroke registry. Nevada and the District of Columbia also created stroke registries. The development and enhancement of these registries across the country has resulted in the ability to assess and analyze quality patient data based on nationally recognized data platforms for both stroke and STEMI care.

    Wyoming and Louisiana enacted policies that established the recognition of nationally accredited facilities for both stroke and STEMI facilities. Illinois, North Carolina, the District of Columbia, North Dakota, Arizona, Kentucky, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oklahoma and, Rhode established the recognition of all three tiers of nationally certified stroke care facilities. In all of these states, EMS authorities are now required to develop and implement formal transport protocol plans for STEMI and stroke patients, respectively. 17% of the population will be covered under these new laws for stroke patients and 2% for STEMI patients. Patients in these states will have more access to quality, comprehensive care and will be much more likely to be transported to the most appropriate stroke and heart attack facilities.

    More than 4.7 million kids will get healthier foods at school, now that Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah have aligned with federal standards requiring these foods be primarily whole grains, fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein. Nevada also restricted on-campus marketing to those foods.

    Nearly 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia now have healthier food options. The district now requires foods and beverages sold through vending machines on government property meet healthy standards. This requirement also applies to government purchased and served food.

    Berkeley, California, became the first city in the U.S. to impose a penny-per- ounce tax on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Revenue from the tax is helping fund a school nutrition education program, delivering a big win in the fight against the obesity and diabetes epidemics.


    1¢/oz. 1¢/oz.

    ©2015, American Heart Association 7/15DS9498

    Helping Americans Eat Healthier

    Quality Systems of Care

    New Orleans banned smoking in most indoor public places, including bars, restaurants and casinos, protecting the city’s residents and millions of tourists from secondhand smoke.

    The District of Columbia included in its budget a $2 million appropriation for the district’s tobacco control program. This is a sharp contrast to just three years ago when zero dollars were allocated to help people quit smoking. Idaho advocates got $4.7 million appropriated for tobacco prevention and cessation programs – one of the state’s highest funding levels ever for tobacco prevention.

    Raising taxes on cigarettes has been proven to help discourage smoking, and Philadelphia’s $2 per pack hike became the largest single increase ever in a U.S. state or locality. The Philadelphia Health Department estimates 40,000 fewer people will smoke because of the measure. Nevada raised its tax from 80 cents to $1.80, which is estimated to keep 10,000 young people from becoming smokers and helping more than 15,000 smokers quit. In Kansas volunteers, partner organizations and the Kansas City and Wichita Boards of Directors played a critical role in securing a fifty cent increase in the state’s cigarette tax. Louisiana, one of only five states that had not increased its tobacco tax since 2002, also passed a fifty cent increase this year.

    Fighting the Dangers of Tobacco

    Help us save more lives by advocating at

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