ACC president: Work needed to reduce CVD death, end care disparities
CHICAGO — The president of the American College of Cardiology called for cardiologists to engage in efforts to reduce death from CVD around the world and to end disparities in access to health care during a keynote address at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session.
Kim Allan Williams Sr. , MD, FACC, who is also James B. Herrick Professor and chief of the division of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, said cardiologists and others must join a global effort to reduce premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases — approximately half of which are related to CVD — by 25% by 2025.
Kim Allan Williams Sr
He said the call by the WHO for “a treatment approach that addresses total [CV] risk rather than an approach based solely on individual risk factor thresholds” should be heeded, and the ACC, with its large membership, networks around the world and partnerships with governmental agencies and other professional societies, is in a good position to do so.
“We can be effective advocates for state, national and global policies that make it easier for [CV] professionals to provide appropriate, cost-effective care,” said Williams, who is a member of the Cardiology Today Editorial Board. “We can work with regulatory agencies and device and drug manufacturers to make drugs more affordable. Drugs and devices that are life-saving but expensive threaten to actually widen disparities in care by socioeconomic strata. No one should have to pay half their salary or more for basic medication. “Pay or Pain” or “Buy or Die” policies should not exist. They only serve to increase health care disparities domestically and around the globe.”
Efforts are being made to increase educational programs about CVD prevention in low-income countries and to give doctors in those locations access to proper screening tools and guidelines in their own languages. Williams encouraged that these efforts be stepped up.
“We have made significant gains over the last 6 decades in reducing [CV] mortality and preventing and treating the disease, but we have not been successful in taking it down a notch to No. 2,” Williams said. He referred to CVD’s status as the No. 1 killer worldwide, which it has not relinquished since the 1918 to 1919 Spanish influenza epidemic. “The goal of becoming No. 2 is well within our grasp — more so than ever before. But we must own our actions and be visible to the public and our patients in positive ways that affect their lives. We must turn off the faucet instead of just mopping the floor.” – by Erik Swain
Williams KA. ACC.16 Opening Showcase. Presented at: American College of Cardiology Scientific Session; April 2-4, 2016; Chicago.
Disclosure: Williams reports no relevant financial disclosures.