Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Keep PE in our Schools and AEDs in our Communities

Keep PE in our Schools and AEDs in our Communities

Illinois Senate Bill 618 threatens a number of top AHA priorities. First, it would lead to the elimination of physical education in our schools. Second, although many lives have been saved by automated electronic defibrillators in school buildings, the bill would jeopardize the placement of AEDs in our school athletic facilities.

Follow the link below to tell your Senator to vote NO on SB 618:
Keep PE in our Schools and AEDs in our Communities

SB 618 will allow school boards to ignore state laws if they aren't getting money to implement them. SB 618 calls these laws "unfunded mandates."

However nice that might sound to some, the bill's potential consequences -- intended or unintended -- would be dire.

Illinois cannot allow the elimination of physical education in a time when our country faces an unprecedented children's obesity epidemic. Maintaining and expanding access to lifesaving AEDs in some of the community's busiest public buildings should be a priority.

To make kids healthier and communities safer, please tell your state senator to vote "NO" on this legislation.

Keep PE in our Schools and AEDs in our Communities

Thank you for your help on this important health issue.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Statement from American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown

The U.S. House of Representatives took an historic and bold step forward to expand health care to millions of Americans to guarantee accessible, affordable, and high quality care. We all acknowledge that such a complex piece of legislation like the final health reform package isn’t perfect -- no package of similar magnitude has ever been perfect at the outset -- but this is the first step of a legacy building process that will transform American health care. This measure takes important steps forward by enacting needed insurance reforms, increasing affordability and reducing costs, emphasizing value over volume and placing a greater emphasis on prevention and wellness. For the American Heart Association (AHA), health care reform has always been about the needs of heart disease and stroke patients and we’re gratified that lawmakers didn’t lose sight of the concerns of those facing pre-existing medical conditions, lifetime and annual limits and other challenges with the health care system.

We now have health care reform that makes significant progress towards embracing the excellence of available health care in America while improving a health care delivery system that was untenable for too many Americans and unsustainable for all Americans.

We realize the current system cannot fully accommodate the current and growing burden of disease. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses are on the rise and will only worsen if attaining better health does not become a high priority. The AHA will continue to do its part and now with this legislation all Americans will have preventive benefits that help lower rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use and diabetes. First dollar coverage for evidence-based preventive services and appropriate treatments and medications that allow patients to lead productive lives after a heart attack or stroke will be key components in our efforts to reduce the burden of disease and extending prevention into communities, especially those of the underserved, will be invaluable.

This vote for health care reform represents a major milestone but not the end of the journey. We believe the work on health care reform is just beginning. The AHA remains committed to working with Congress, the Administration and our partners in the public and private sectors to further improve the health care system, to monitor and implement this legislation and to transform the current system into one that fulfills our American generational promise to make life better for future generations.

New Heartsaver AED Grant Rules Adopted in Illinois

From the 3/19/10 issue of the Illinois Register:

2) Code Citation: 77 Ill. Adm. Code 530
3) Section Numbers: Adopted Action:
530.100 Amended
530.200 Amended
530.300 Amended
530.400 Amended
530.500 Amended
530.600 Amended
530.700 Amended
4) Statutory Authority: Section 2310-371.5 of the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois [20 ILCS 2310/2310-371.5]
5) Effective Date of Rulemaking: March 2, 2010
6) Does this rulemaking contain an automatic repeal date? No
7) Does this rulemaking contain incorporations by reference? No
8) A copy of the adopted amendments, including any material incorporated by reference, is on file in the agency's principal office and is available for public inspection.
9) Notice of Proposal Published in Illinois Register: August 28, 2009; 33 Ill. Reg. 12076
10) Has JCAR issued a Statement of Objection to these rules? No
11) Differences between proposal and final version: The following changes were made during First Notice in response to comments and suggestions of JCAR:
1. Section 530.100 – "[20 ILCS 2310]" was added at the end of the definition of "Act".
2. Section 530.100 – in the definition of "Applicant", after "recreation", "district" was changed to "department".
3. Section 530.300(a), "Be" was added and "be" was stricken. ILLINOIS REGISTER 3623 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
4. Section 530.500(c)(1), "address" was added after "e-mail.
5. Section 530.600(e), "are" was added and "were" was stricken.
6. Through the entire document, eight references to "33 Ill. Reg." were changed to "34 Ill. Reg.".
12) Have all the changes agreed upon by the agency and JCAR been made as indicated in the agreements issued by JCAR? Yes
13) Will this rulemaking replace any emergency rulemaking currently in effect? No
14) Are there any amendments pending on this Part? No
15) Summary and Purpose of Rulemaking: Public Act 95-0721 renumbered and amended Section 371 of the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois regarding the Heartsaver AED Fund Grant Program. The revised law expands the eligibility for the grant program to include: private schools, colleges and universities; forest preserve districts; conservation districts; and municipal recreation departments. The legislation also eliminated the requirement that eligible applicants be required to have an automated external defibrillator pursuant to the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act.
16) Information and questions regarding these adopted amendments shall be directed to:
Susan Meister
Division of Legal Services
Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson, 5th Floor
Springfield, Illinois 62761

PART 530
530.100 Definitions
530.200 Referenced Materials
530.300 Eligibility for Grants
530.400 Grant Requirements
530.500 Application Requirements
530.600 Review of Applications
530.700 Use of Grant Funds
530.800 Termination
530.900 Denial, Suspension or Revocation
530.1000 Grant Funds Recovery
530.1100 Hearings

AUTHORITY: Implementing and authorized by Section 2310-371 of the Department of Public
Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois [20 ILCS 2310/2310-371].
SOURCE: Adopted at 30 Ill. Reg. 12288, effective June 28, 2006; amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010.
Section 530.100 Definitions
Act – the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois [20 ILCS 2310].
Applicant – an Illinois school, public park district, forest preserve district, conservation district, municipal recreation department, college, or university that is applying for a grant under this Part. (Section 2310-371.5 of the Act)
Automated External Defibrillator (AED) – a medical device heart monitor and defibrillator that: ILLINOIS REGISTER 3625 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
has received approval of its pre-market notification, filed pursuant to 21 USC 360(k), from the United States Food and Drug Administration;
is capable of recognizing the presence or absence of ventricular fibrillation and rapid ventricular tachycardia, and is capable of determining, without intervention by an operator, whether defibrillation should be performed;
upon determining that defibrillation should be performed, either automatically charges and delivers an electrical impulse to an individual or charges and delivers an electrical impulse at the command of the operator; and
in the case of a defibrillator that may be operated in either an automatic or manual mode, is set to operate in the automatic mode. (Section 10 of the Automated External Defibrillator Act)
Department – the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Director – the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Division – the Division of Emergency Medical Systems and Highway Safety, Department of Public Health.
Fund – the Heartsaver AED Fund in the State Treasury.
Grant Recipient – an Illinois school, public park district, forest preserve district, conservation district, municipal recreation department, college, or university that receives a grant under this Part. (Section 2310-371.5 of the Act)
Physical fitness facility or facility – includes any indoor establishment that meets all of the following requirements:
In whole or in part, is owned or operated by a park district or by a public elementary or secondary school, college, or university.
Is supervised by one or more persons, other than maintenance or security personnel, employed by the park district or public school, college, or university for the purpose of directly supervising the physical fitness ILLINOIS REGISTER 3626 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
activities taking place at any indoor facilities listed in this definition. (Section 5.25 of the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act)
Serves a total of 100 or more individuals. In calculating the number of individuals served by a facility, the greater of the seating capacity, the capacity of the facility under applicable fire code, pool, or similar standards, or the number of members of the facility shall be included in the final determination. The number of members of the facility includes the complete facility membership, whether or not these members are present at the facility at the same time.
Is a swimming pool; stadium; athletic field; track and field facility; tennis court; basketball court; volleyball court; aerobics studio; dance studio; boxing gym; martial-arts or self-defense studio; wrestling gym; weight-lifting facility; treadmill or stationary bicycle facility; velodrome; racquetball court; gymnastics facility; or any other indoor establishment focusing primarily on cardiovascular exertion where participants engage in relatively continuous active physical exercise that uses large muscle groups and that substantially increases the heart rate.
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.200 Referenced Materials
The following materials are referenced in this Part:
a) Illinois Statutes
1) Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act [210 ILCS 74]
12) Automated External Defibrillator Act [410 ILCS 4]
23) Illinois Grant Funds Recovery Act [30 ILCS 705]
1) Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Code (77 Ill. Adm. Code 527)
12) Automated External Defibrillator Code (77 Ill. Adm. Code 525)
23) Rules of Practice and Procedure in Administrative Hearings (77 Ill. Adm. Code 100)
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.300 Eligibility for Grants
ToIn order to be eligible to receive a grant from the Fund, the applicant shallmust meet all of the
following criteria:
a) Be Must bean Illinois school, public park district, forest preserve district, conservation district, municipal recreation department, college, or universitya public school, public park district, public college or public university; (Section 2310-371.5 of the Act); and
b) Must meet the definition of physical fitness facility in Section 530.100 of this Part; and
bc) Demonstrate that they have the funds to pay 50% of the cost of the AEDs for which matching grant moneys are sought Must be willing and able to pay 50 percent of the total cost of an AED as that cost is determined by the State Master Contract or in the absence of a State Master Contract as determined by the Department. (Section 2310-371.5 of the Act).
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.400 Grant Requirements
a) Grant recipients shallmust comply with all applicable provisions of the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act, the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Code, the Automated External Defibrillator Act and the Automated External Defibrillator Code. ILLINOIS REGISTER 3628 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
b) Grant recipients shall match the grant award received and shall spend the grant award on the purchase of an AED to be used byhoused at the grant recipientfacility.
c) Grant recipients shall return a signed contract to the Department in the specified time period and shall comply with the provisions of the contract.
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.500 Application Requirements
a) Applications shallmay be submitted to the Department through the website established for this purpose or at the following address:
Heartsaver AED Grants
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Emergency Medical Systems & Highway Safety
500 East Monroe Street, 8th Floor
Springfield IL 62701
b) Faxed and e-mailed applications will not be accepted.
cb) Applications shall be submitted on the form prescribed by the Department and shall include, at a minimum, the following:
1) The name, address, e-mail adress and phone number of the primary contact and the secondary contact designated by the applicantfacility to be responsible for administering the grant funds;.
2) The Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) for the applicant; and2)An agreement that the organization submitting the application is required to have an AED pursuant to the Physical Fitness Facility Medical Emergency Preparedness Act.
3) An agreement by the applicant that, if awarded a grant, the grant will be matched by the grant recipientfacility.
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010) ILLINOIS REGISTER 3629 10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS
Section 530.600 Review of Applications
a) The grant cycle runs from July 1-June 30. Applications for grants from the Fund may be submitted to the Department beginning on July 1 of each year.
b) The Department will review applications Applications will be reviewed by the Department for compliance with the requirements of this Part. During the course of its review, the Department may contact the applicant for additional information if the information provided is incomplete, inconsistent or unclear.
c) Applicants whom the Department determines not to be eligible for grant funds will be notified in writing of this decision.
d) Distribution of grants is dependent on available funding. Available grant funds will be distributed on a "first come, first served" basis, based on when the Department received the completed application was received by the Department. If the Department receives several completed applications are received by the Department on the same date and funds are not available to award each of these applicants, a random selectiondrawing of applications will be used to determine grant recipientsawardees.
e) Applicants shallmust submit a new application each State fiscal year in order to be considered for funding. Applications are only applicable to the State fiscal year in which the applications arewere received.
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)
Section 530.700 Use of Grant Funds
a) The entire amount of the grant award, plus matching funds from the facility, shall be used to purchase an AED to be kept in that facility. AEDs shall be used at facilities owned or controlled by the grant recipient or at events authorized by the grant recipient that are held at facilities owned or controlled by the grant recipient.
b) Grants are limited to one AED per eligible physical fitness facility. Any school, public park district, forest preserve district, conservation district, municipal recreation department, college or university applying for the grant shall not receive more than one grant from the Heartsaver AED Fund each fiscal year. (Section 2310-317.5 of the Act).
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 3622, effective March 2, 2010)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You Save When Smokers Quit.

The American Heart Association is supporting House Bill 5766 - legislation that will help smokers quit...for good. HB 5766 requires that smoking cessation programs be covered by private insurance. We know there is a quick return on investment for covering smoking cessation in Illinois. Not only will we save money, but we can save lives. Tobacco use treatment is ranked one of the most cost effective health services with the largest health gains, ranking right up there with immunizations.

Follow the link below to ask your Representative to support HB 5766 and help smokers quit for good:

Save Money, Save Lives by Helping Smokers Quit

HB 5766 would provide $500 in coverage for a tobacco use cessation program for a person enrolled in the plan who is 18 years of age or older. This coverage includes counseling and FDA approved pharmacological medications. Smoking-related health care costs total an estimated $4.10 billion with an additional $4.35 billion in lost productivity each year in Illinois.

In addition to cost, tobacco use is also the number one preventable cause of death and disease. Compared with non-smokers, smokers increase their risk of:
-Coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
-Stroke by 2 to 4 times
-Lung cancer by 23 times (men) 13 times (women)

Save Money, Save Lives by Helping Smokers Quit

Thank you for your support on this important health issue.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Our job isn't done yet...

In case you missed the wonderful news, yesterday the House of Representatives took a truly historic vote to pass the final health care reform package by a vote of 219 to 212!

Thanks to the efforts of You’re the Cure activists, Members voted for meaningful reform with patient protections that will help Americans live healthier lives - and voted against the status quo of denials based on pre-existing medical conditions, caps placed on coverage, and unmanageable out-of-pocket costs for treatments and preventative services.

This action by the House sends significant, meaningful reform to the President for his signature.

But our job isn’t yet done; there’s a final step to overcome…

Starting today, we need to ensure the Senate follows the House of Representatives’ lead and finishes this year’s work on health care reform by promptly passing the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act. This legislation will further strengthen and improve upon reform by making coverage more affordable.

Contact your U.S. Senators today with the message: Act NOW and Vote YES!

The Senate - which could vote as early as this week - must pass the agreed-upon improvements to the health care package in order to complete action on reform. For the improvements bill to pass, a majority of Senators will need to vote YES - and patient advocates, like you and me, must continue to express our support on behalf of the 81 million Americans living with heart disease and stroke, and the millions more at risk, until the job is done.

This is the closest that this country has come to adopting comprehensive health care reform.

Urge your Senators to do their part to finish the work on meaningful health care reform.

(After you take action, please share this blog post with your Facebook and Twitter friends!)

Join AHA’s Mobile Action Network today and get special action alerts, breaking news and exclusive invitations regarding the upcoming healthcare reform legislation. Click on the image to sign up or visit

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Vote "YES" on Healthcare Reform

This is it. In a matter of days, the House of Representatives will vote to either pass health care reform, or carry on with the status quo of a broken health care system- and the vote is expected to be extremely close. 216 votes are needed in the House to pass the bill and grassroots advocates, like you, must take a stand for patients and speak up now!

Tell Representative Bean to vote "YES" on the final health care reform package.

For patients, the status quo would mean an estimated 20 million Americans becoming uninsured over the next decade, tens of thousands of Americans losing their lives because they can't afford the care they need, rising health care costs, and Medicare's trust fund drying up. Quite simply, failure to pass health care reform is not an option.

Guided by our core principles for reform, the American Heart Association has worked hard to ensure Congress understands the needs and concerns of the 81 million Americans living with heart disease and stroke, and the millions more at risk, and to support policies that address those needs. Although it is not perfect, the final health care legislation, makes significant improvements to our current health care system that we can build on for years to come, such as:
-Expanding health insurance coverage to an additional 32 million Americans, achieving coverage for 95 percent of all non-elderly Americans.
-Establishing important new consumer protections, such as ensuring patients with pre-existing medical conditions will no longer be denied or dropped from coverage.
-Eliminating lifetime and annual caps on essential medical services.
-Making coverage more affordable for millions of American families and small businesses by pooling them together to benefit from group rates and providing tax credits to help buy coverage.
-Promoting prevention by requiring private health plans and Medicare to provide coverage for preventive services with no cost-sharing, adding a new annual wellness visit to Medicare, and making significant new investments in community prevention efforts.

Health care reform is critical to reducing death and disability from cardiovascular disease and helping all Americans live healthier lives. So, at this truly historic moment, we must join together with other patient advocates and demand better than the status quo.

Send your email today to urge your Representative stand with patients by voting "YES".

Thank you for speaking up for progress!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Heart and Stroke Survivors Urge Congress to Capitalize on Momentum of Stimulus Bill and Increase Funding for Medical Research

A strong investment in heart disease and stroke research is a strong investment for families and the economy. American Heart Association patient advocates and researchers delivered that message to members of Congress during the association’s You’re the Cure on the Hill Fly-In on Wednesday, March 10.

A special thanks to the following Illinois advocates that attended:
Lynne Donnegan
Regina Greer-Smith
Tonya Roberson
Stan Turner

Many heart disease and stroke survivors have benefited from advancements in medical research that continues to bring us closer to a cure.

These individuals joined other American Heart Association advocates to meet with legislators in Washington, D.C. to urge them to appropriate $35 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for FY 2011 to capitalize on the momentum achieved under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Act provided a $10 billion investment to the agency over two years.

NIH-supported research has led to significant breakthroughs in the treatment and prevention of heart disease and stroke. Robust funding increases for the NIH budget in the appropriations bill will help us advance to the next wave of scientific discoveries.

Currently, NIH invests only four percent of its budget on heart research and a mere one percent on stroke research. The President’s FY 2011 budget request for NIH cardiovascular research is ten percent below the FY 2010 level, including the Recovery Act funding and 12 percent below the FY 2009 level.

NIH supported research also fosters economic growth and innovation at the state and local levels and worldwide. Each NIH grant generates on average seven jobs. Medical research has a profound impact on local communities, contributing to job growth and economic development.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Website Features Colleen O'Sullivan and Educates the Community about the IL AED Law

A huge thank you to the amazing work of Lynne Donegan (Colleen’s aunt) and Chris McBee (WorldPoint Web Marketing Manager) for educating people about the Colleen O'Sullivan law by creating a website that not only explains the importance of AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators), but also memorializes a life cut too short.

Please visit the Colleen O'Sullivan website below and help me share this wonderful resource with as many people as possible:

The Colleen O'Sullivan Law (AED Law)
Physical fitness facilities must have at least one AED on the premises. This includes both private and public facilities serving over 100 individuals. Rules will also be adopted to train facility staff on the role of CPR and the use of AEDs.

The Story behind the AED Law in Illinois
Our daughter, Colleen O’Sullivan, aspired to be an attorney, but wanted to do something that could help people as well. This was the reason she practiced health care law. She earned her degree in political science at St Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, and soon after, obtained her J.D. from John Marshall Law School . Finally, she received her LLM in Health Law from Loyola University.

Our daughter was 30 years old when her life was drastically cut short due to a lack of an AED in her health club.

In 2004, The Colleen O’Sullivan Law was created in her honor by family and friends that refused to accept the status quo. Little did we realize that this law, created in her name, was able to save so many lives. Every day my family is reminded of Colleen through stories of the lives saved because there was an AED where people exercised, played ball, traveled and went to school.

There is not one day that goes by that we don’t remember her spirit and love of life. She is continually missed by her many friends and family. Our plea goes out to each and every one of you-if you see someone in distress requiring the use of a defibrillator, please don’t be afraid to use it-you will be saving someone’s life!