The National Heart Foundation of Australia has congratulated the Australian Government for today announcing that it will extend the Medicare Heart Health Check for another two years, ensuring that millions of at-risk Australians continue to have a chance to avoid a debilitating heart attack or stroke.
In an announcement today during Heart Week, Heart Foundation CEO David Lloyd will join the Health and Aged Care Minister, Mark Butler, in Adelaide to announce that the Medicare Benefits Schedule items 699 and 177 – the Heart Health Check – would be funded for another two years, with at least 250,000 Australians expected to take up a Check in that time frame.
The Heart Foundation has also welcomed an amendment that makes it easier for First Nations people to receive a Heart Health Check even if they’ve had an annual health check for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the 12 months prior.
Mr Lloyd congratulated Minister Butler and the Australian Government for taking strong action to protect Australian hearts.
“I want to thank the Minister for this crucial extension of the Medicare Heart Health Checks,” Mr Lloyd said.
“It shows that this is a Government that listens to Australians and understands the important role that prevention can play in saving lives from heart disease, which continues to be our nation’s leading cause of death and a major burden on our healthcare system.
“I would like to thank the Australian public for the support they’ve showed in recent weeks to ensure the importance of Heart Health Checks was not overlooked at a time of major reform for our healthcare system.
“I would also like to thank our cardiovascular sector peers for their joint advocacy on this matter. We are a very passionate sector united by the single idea that we can always do more to drive down the burden of heart disease to keep Australians healthy and out of hospitals.
“And to our wonderful GPs, nurses and general practice staff who have so far delivered more than 450,000 Heart Health Checks since 2019 and have accessed our toolkit more than 100,000 times – we thank you for your important work to date and in the future which will give at-risk Australians a real chance at improving their heart health and avoiding the devastating consequences of heart disease .”
About the Heart Health Check
The Medicare Heart Health Check is a 20-minute check-up for people aged 45 years or over, or 30 and over if First Nations. During the check-up, a GP checks their patient’s blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and asks key questions about nutrition, exercise, medical and family history.
All of these factors allow the GP to use a validated risk prediction equation to accurately assess their patient’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.
Using the Heart Foundation-supplied Heart Health Check toolkit, the GP can then develop a preventative action plan to help that person take the necessary action to reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke.
About the campaign to save the Medicare Heart Health Check
The Heart Foundation in partnership with the Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Australian Cardiovascular Alliance, Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Heart Support Australia and hearts4heart, earlier this year launched a petition which attracted more than 40,000 public signatures and resulted in hundreds of letters being written by Australians to their local MPs, calling for their support to extend the Checks.
The organisations were also strongly supported by news media to explain the importance of the Heart Health Checks and to make the case for their extension beyond 30 June – a deadline put in place by the former Government.
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