House Passes the HEART for Women Act

The US House of Representatives voted last week to approve the Heart Disease Education, Analysis Research, and Treatment for Women Act, legislation.

The US House of Representatives voted 418-4 last week to approve HR. 1014, the Heart Disease Education, Analysis Research, and Treatment for Women Act, legislation that was designed to “improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases in women.”

First introduced in the House in 2006 by Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Barbara Cubin (R-WY), the HEART for Women Act, according to the American Heart Association, calls for a “multi-pronged approach to improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke.” The AHA notes that the Act will raise awareness by authorizing grants to “educate healthcare professionals about the prevalence and unique aspects of care for women in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. It also authorizes the Medicare program to conduct an educational awareness campaign for older women about their risk for heart disease and stroke.”

The Act also requires federal government healthcare data (including clinical trial, pharmaceutical and medical device approval, medical errors, hospital quality, and quality improvement data) to be “stratified by gender, as well as by race and ethnicity.” The Act also authorizes the expansion of the CDC’s WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation) heart disease and stroke prevention screening program.

A statement from AHA President Timothy Gardner, MD, described passage of the Act as “historic,” calling it “an important victory that will pave the way for significant improvements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the No. 1 killer of women--heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. The statement cautioned that although “this is a huge step forward in the battle to save women’s lives, there’s still more work to be done to close the health disparities gap… we must move forward aggressively to make sure this crucial legislation becomes law.”

The Act will now be taken up in the Senate (as S.573), where it was originally introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Learn more about the HEART for Women Act, the AHA’s advocacy efforts, and the risks women face from heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases at HEART for Women.

Download a document titled “Women and Cardiovascular Disease Facts” here.