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Stroke Advocacy Network Newsletter

APRIL 2011


Legislative Update | Regulatory Update | What You Can Do Today!  


Legislative Update 

Fiscal Year 2011 Spending Debate Continues

Last month, we covered all the ins-and-outs of the President’s budget request, but this month, we’ll walk you through the Congressional side of budget funding.

The current fiscal year (FY2010) began on October 1, and since then, the government has been operating on a series of short-term spending bills (also known as continuing resolutions). Generally, this keeps the government operating at the same funding levels as the previous fiscal year. The current continuing resolution will expire on April 8, forcing Congress to debate whether to pass a bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year or to pass another short-term spending bill.

In an attempt to pass a spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, House Resolution (HR) 1 was introduced and passed by House Republicans in February. The Senate held a vote on HR 1 in March, but the bill did not pass. While HR 1 has failed to become law, it has now become the basis for debate over spending levels for FY2011.

HR 1 proposes nearly $57.5 billion in total cuts. The bill reduces the overall spending of the Department of Health and Human Services by $14 billion, and includes a $1.6 billion reduction to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which contains funding for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The Stroke Advocacy Network has posted an Action Alert regarding the NIH funding issue on its Action Center. Please take a moment to let your elected officials know how important this issue is to you as a stroke advocate.

The budget process can be a complicated and intimidating for even the most seasoned advocates, but Stroke Advocacy Network has an easy-to-understand webinar explaining the budget process. Click the View Now button below to see/hear the webinar.

View Now

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May is National Stroke Awareness Month, which is a perfect time to connect with legislators in Washington, D.C., regarding improvements to federal policies and programs designed to help those affected by stroke.  Tune into Advocacy and Stroke Awareness Month: What YOU Can Do to Make a Difference on Wednesday, April 27, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern.

Click here to register

Sen. Stabenow Introduces Bill to Improve Women’s Health

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the Heart Disease, Education, Analysis, Research and Treatment for Women Act, also known as the HEART for Women Act, on March 2. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) signed on as cosponsors to the bill.

The HEART for Women Act aims to improve women’s health by increasing the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chronic disease, particularly stroke and heart disease.

It calls for a study investigating how often sponsors of medical studies follow FDA requirements on the presentation and report of data by sex, age and race. It also requires an analysis of the representation of females and racial minorities in medical studies. The goal of these studies is to ensure that groups that have not been traditionally included in all medical studies are represented so researchers can better understand how different drugs, biologics and devices impact different types of people.

The HEART for Women Act would also require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to prepare and submit an annual report to Congress on the quality of and access to care available to women who suffer from stroke, heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.

Finally, the bill would expand funding for the WISEWOMAN program, which strives to provide low-income and underinsured women between the ages of 40 to 64 with support to prevent, delay and control stroke, cardiovascular and other chronic disorders. The program is currently available in only 20 states, and the bill calls for gradual funding increases over five years to expand the program to all 50 states.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Keep an eye out for an Action Alert on this issue in the very near future.

Regulatory Update

New Rule on Quality Measures in Hospitals Expected in April

In early April, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is expected to release new guidelines for its inpatient prospective payment system. A prospective payment system is structured so that healthcare institutions receive a set amount of money for the operating costs of acute care, and those levels are adjusted annually to rise with inflation. The Medicare program can require that hospitals report on quality measures in order to receive the annual increase, and numerous advocacy groups have identified this process as a way to improve the quality of stroke care in hospitals. You can read more and even ask legislators to get involved through the Stroke Advocacy Network Action Center.

Your Stroke Advocacy Network team will monitor CMS for the release and will provide an update next month upon publication.

 

What You Can Do Today

SAN Action Center with url
  1. If you aren’t a member of the Stroke Advocacy Network, join today. It’s free and easy, and it will help you stay updated on what you can do to raise stroke awareness.

    Click here to join the Stroke Advocacy Network

  2. Write to your members of Congress through the Action Center. Ask them to support continued funding for the NIH, particularly the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. You can make a difference!

    Click here to take action


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 Supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Inc., and The Medtronic Foundation.