NCWO Urges Members of House and Senate to Support the HEART for Women Act (S. 438/ H.R. 3526)

NCWO Urges Members of House and Senate to Support the HEART for Women Act (S. 438/H.R. 3526)

NCWO has has signed on to a letter asking Members of the House and Senate to cosponsor the HEART for Women Act (S. 438/H.R. 3526), which has strong bipartisan support and has been passed by the House twice.

The letter notes, "There are 42.7 million American women living with heart disease, stroke and other forms of cardiovascular disease -- the leading killer of American women, causing more deaths than the next three causes of death combined and killing about 28,000 more women than men in 2008.  Women are less likely than men to be referred for diagnostic tests, to receive interventional procedures such as angioplasties and stents, or to receive preventive medication.  Women are also more likely than men to die within a year of their first heart attack, and women are 1.5 times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after heart bypass surgery. Despite established hospital and physician guidelines for heart patients, women continue to be occasionally misdiagnosed by physicians and many primary care doctors still don’t know that heart disease kills more women than men.
 
"While there was a huge decline in death from heart disease in men (17.5%) in the past 30 years, it has decreased a mere 2.5% in women of all ages.  One study shows the death rate from heart disease in women in ages 35-44, actually rose between 1997 and 2002.  This chasm between men and women may grow even larger if disparities in the way women are treated persist.  
 
"Congress has the opportunity to make a difference for women with heart disease.    The HEART for Women Act improves the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke by:

1.     Providing gender and race-specific information for clinicians and researchers.  The legislation would require the GAO  to study whether clinical trial, drug and medical device safety and efficacy data are being reported by sex, race, and age.;

2.     Helping to prevent heart disease and stroke in at-risk women.  The legislation would authorize the expansion of the CDC WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation) program that provides low-income, uninsured and underinsured women in 20 states with preventive health services, needed referrals to local health care providers, and  lifestyle counseling and interventions.

3.     Reporting on care of women with heart disease or stroke.  The legislation requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to report annually to Congress on the quality of and access to care for women with heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases and to make recommendations for eliminating disparities and improving the treatment of women.