On May 16, 2019, WomenHeart participated in a Cardiovascular Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. The event brought together patient advocates, health care providers, federal officials, and industry. The patient voice permeated throughout; two WomenHeart Champions presented their stories. Florence Champagne of Maryland shared her experience of failing to get the proper diagnostic tests prior to having a massive heart attack, in large part because she lacked health insurance at the time. Connie Newlon of Michigan talked about having to manage both her heart disease and diabetes.
The Summit featured interactive panels and insightful presentations. In a discussion about health disparities in rural America, a panel of nurses discussed the challenges many patients have managing several comorbidities, accessing specialty care, and affording prescription drugs. Another panel of experts spoke about the connection between heart disease and diabetes.
The issue of access came up time and again, whether speakers where highlighting challenges getting coverage for cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitors because of high rejection rates by insurers, or they were noting that millions of Americans remained uninsured and have very little access to health care at all. Speakers shared the work they were doing at the federal level and in the exam room to overcome many of those challenges to ensure all patients have access to the care they need.
The Summit was convened by the Institute for Patient Access and hosted by the Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular Health (PACH). WomenHeart is a member of PACH.