Quality & Availability of Care

Updated:Apr 1,2011

The American Heart Association covers many areas when it comes to heart disease and stroke (see list at right). The current priority is provide all U.S. residents with access to and coverage for appropriate and affordable quality care, eliminating healthcare disparities including those based on race and ethnicity.

Promote Quality Through Adherence to Clinical Guidelines & Treatment Protocols

  • Promote public policies that ensure quality health care through adherence to evidence-based guidelines and treatment protocols, including efforts to decrease health disparities and promote health equity. 
  • Focus on identifying opportunities to promote quality through the use of evidence-based performance measures in the delivery of care. 
  • Work to create an environment in which the translation of guidelines into practice can occur.

Promote Access to Health Coverage

  • Support policies that extend health coverage to all Americans. 
  • Work to ensure that health coverage is universal, continuous, high-quality, administratively simple, and affordable both to individuals and to society. 
  • Assure that efforts to expand access include coverage for evidence-based prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke.

Promote Availability and Affordability of Preventive Health Benefits

  • Support policies that ensure the availability of essential cardiovascular disease preventive benefits in private insurance and public health programs that are consistent with the AHA position statement, “Recommended Model Benefits Package: Preventive Cardiovascular Services.” 
  • Support policies that reduce and eliminate cost-sharing associated with these cardiovascular disease-related preventive services.

Expand Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions

  • Explore targeted efforts and opportunities to address the barriers to access encountered by individuals with pre-existing conditions, including congenital heart defects.

Monitor Pay-for-quality and Non-financial Incentives

  • Identify and support policies that use sound scientific methods of performance measurement and analysis to align financial and non-financial incentives, including public reporting, in support of the provision of high quality health care – care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable. 
  • Monitor such policies for their use of both clinical and administrative data. 
  • Educate policy-makers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each type of evidence.

Monitor Health Information Technology (HIT)

  • Promote legislation and/or regulation that may impact the development of HIT. 
  • Assure that HIT improves the quality of care and adherence to evidence-based guidelines. 
  • Promote policies that empower consumers to make informed decisions regarding the importance of owning, managing and the benefits of maintaining personal health records.

Monitor Drug Formulary Policy

  • Existing AHA policy recommendations support policies that promote open formularies that do not allow for therapeutic substitution.  Every effort should be made to continue to monitor, evaluate and promote proposed public policies concerning drug formularies.

Monitor Disease Management Programs

  • Monitor legislation and/or regulation that establishes disease management programs in Medicaid and other public health insurance programs. 
  • Assure that programs improve care for enrollees with chronic disease, such as heart failure, and support prevention. 
  • Work to ensure that the disease management programs are patient centered and provider driven.  This would include specialty providers when the disease to be managed falls largely within their care of the patient.'

Transparency of Health Insurance Benefits and Associated Costs

  • Support the issue of greater transparency as a means to empower the health care consumer as it relates to the business practices, product offering and claims history of health insurance companies. 
  • Encourage policies that increase transparency of the costs and insurance coverage and expand consumers’ health care decision-making tools.  Ensure that any quality of health care measures reported are valid, reliable and reinforce evidence-based treatment and guidelines.

 For more information about the policies on this page, please contact Jeff Ranous, 262.271.4908

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Advocacy Contacts

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association advocates for sound public policy strategies aimed at reducing heart disease and stroke. We have government relations teams in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Learn who your federal and state staff contacts are and how to reach them about policy issues.