American Heart Association Stroke Council
This report represents the Spring 2014 update of the Stroke Council. Much has happened in the past 6 months, and we want to particularly focus on the new strategic plan for the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA) and new research opportunities within the AHA/ASA.
Goals and Strategic Plans to Get There
Each Stroke Council Update starts with restating our 2020 Goals: By 2020 to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20%. To reach this goal, the AHA/ASA has worked hard, with input from throughout the organization, to craft the next detailed strategic plan for the entire AHA/ASA, including the strategic plan for the ASA that will be distributed throughout the organization in the upcoming months. One issue became apparent while reviewing the strategic plan for AHA/ASA: stroke rehabilitation and recovery are not emphasized currently in the Strategic Plan for the AHA as they deserve. In part, this reflects more limited research data and metrics available for assessing the effect of various approaches to stroke recovery compared with extensive research and public data about cardiac rehabilitation. Our stroke strategic plan must prioritize increasing engagement and advocacy for stroke recovery and rehabilitation. For example, in March, Congress passed another temporary fix to the Medicare therapy caps. They extended the exceptions process for 1 additional year (through March 31, 2015). This process allows stroke survivors on Medicare to get more outpatient therapy than the $1920 caps allow but only if their healthcare provider jumps through additional hoops to get those services covered. Although this short-term fix is good and is a direct result of advocacy from many stroke-related organizations, a long-term fix to Medicare therapy caps is paramount, and advocacy by all of us will be needed to ensure a long-term solution. …