Virginia State Profile and Policy Report

Virginia State Profile and Policy Report

Heart Disease and Stroke Burden

Table of Contents

Virginia - State Deaths for Heart Disease and Stroke

  • More than 1 out of 4 deaths in Virginia are due to heart disease.

  • 14,021 Virginians died from heart disease in 2006 (24.3 percent of total deaths in Virginia).

  • 3,523 Virginians died from stroke in 2006 (6.1 percent of total deaths in Virginia).
    Source: National Vital Statistics Report, 2009.

Virginia - 2007 State Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Stroke


Virginia - 2003 State Costs for Cardiovascular Disease

In October 2007, the Milken Institute, an independent research group, released a study, An Unhealthy America: The Economic Impact of Chronic Disease. The study details the economic effects of treatment costs resulting from chronic disease in the United States. Below is a breakdown of Virginia’s estimated medical costs to treat heart disease, hypertension and stroke based on 2003 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data.

Virginia Annual Cost of Hypertension, Heart Disease and Stroke 

Treatment Expenditures (Direct Costs) - Total annual medical cost.


$.75 billion

Heart Disease          

$1.27 billion


$.32 billion

Source: Milken Institute, An Unhealthy America: The Economic Impact of Chronic Disease, October 2007. 

Virginia - Estimated 2007 Medicaid Treatment Costs for Cardiovascular Diseases

Based on Virginia's Medicaid population, economic estimates for 2007 were projected using Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data.  Medicaid spending has grown rapidly in recent years, placing a significant burden on state budgets.  To help states estimate the financial impact of cardiovascular diseases among their Medicaid beneficiaries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and RTI International developed the Chronic Disease Cost Calculator. 

 Heart Disease

 $76.7 million


 $263 million


 $150 million

 Congestive Heart Failure

 $30.5 million


Funded CDC Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Grantees in Virginia

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds Virginia's Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program to increase control of high blood pressure and cholesterol; increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke and the importance of promptly calling 911; improve emergency response; improve quality of care; and eliminate related health disparities.  These efforts are informed by monitoring heart disease, stroke and related risk factors statewide.

Virginia State Highlight - Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program

  • The Virginia Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program developed the Blood Pressure Measurement Standardization (BPMS) Curriculum. The curriculum is used to train individuals within the community, school, and health care setting to utilize national guidelines for blood pressure measurement. Trainings are targeted to parish nurses, pharmacists, community health centers, and schools. The Virginia BPMS curriculum has currently been adapted by Maine, and other states are expressing interest in the curriculum. The Virginia curriculum is comprehensive in its scope in covering blood pressure measurement, recognized nationally for its quality improvement value, and provides continuing medical education credits.
  • The Medical Emergency Response Protocol (MERP) has been approved by the Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS). It was developed in collaboration with the HDSP program, AHA, and the OEMS. The protocol includes guidance on use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), how to deal with heart attack and stroke situations, and how to establish an emergency response team at worksites and other non-medical facilities.

WISEWOMAN - The CDC also funds the WISEWOMAN program, which provides low-income, underinsured and uninsured women ages 40 to 64 with access to preventive health services by screening for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.  The program also provides lifestyle interventions that are tailored to each woman's heart disease and stroke risk factor screening results and links participants to free and low-cost community-based nutrition, physical activity, and quit smoking resources. 

  • The Virginia program uses lifestyle counselors to provide health screenings, counseling, materials, education and referrals to community resources on physical activity, healthy eating and smoking cessation. Virginia has contracted to deliver WISEWOMAN services to various health departments, community care centers and hospitals in urban, suburban and rural areas across the state. 

State Laws and Policies

Public Awareness of Heart Disease and Stroke 

VA HJR 198/ SJR 124 (2010, adopted) - Designates April 25, 2010, and each succeeding year as “Youth Fitness Day.” Encourages youth and other citizens to engage in physical activity on this day as a symbol of their commitment to fitness and healthy living.

VA HJR 259 (2010, adopted) - Recognizes the month of February as “American Heart Month,” in 2010 and each year after.

VA HJR 635 (2008, adopted) - The House of Delegates with the Senate concurring, that the General Assembly designates May 17, in 2009 and in each succeeding year, as Women's Heart Day in Virginia.

VA HJR 684 (2008, adopted) - The General Assembly designates February 7 through 14, in 2009 and each succeeding year, as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week in Virginia, culminating in the observance of National Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day on February 14 each year.


Prevention of Risk Factors (Nutrition, Physical Activity, Tobacco)

Tobacco Control

Virginia's state employee tobacco cessation program meets one of the three CDC guidelines that include:

1) Coverage for at least four counseling sessions of at least 30 minutes; YES
2) Access to smoking cessation agents, including prescriptions and nicotine replacement; NO
3) Counseling and medication coverage for at least two quit attempts annually; NO 

  • Virginia also has a cigarette excise tax and quit line.  The cigarette excise tax in Virginia is $.30.

  • Virginia's state Medicaid tobacco cessation program covers over-the-counter and prescription products, therapy, counseling and social support.

Increase Early Detection and Treatment of Heart Disease and Stroke

No policy listed at this time

State Employee Health and Wellness 

Improve Quality of Care and Access to Care

VA HJR 82 (2010, adopted) - Directs the Joint Commission on Health Care to study the feasibility of health care homes to treat chronic disease.  The commission will review information about programs in other states to develop recommendations related to standards for chronic health care homes, including the use of primary care practitioners, care coordinators and other professionals to provide high quality, patient-centered care.  This also includes using health information technology; evidence-based health care practices; incorporating quality outcome, and cost-of-care measures; standards for certification of health care facilities as chronic health care homes and ongoing reporting requirements; developing a chronic health care home collaborative to provide opportunities for state agencies to exchange information about quality improvement and best practices; enrolling state medical assistance recipients; and costs associated with implementing a successful demonstration program to determine improvement in health care quality and patient outcomes. Directs the commission to complete its meetings for the first year by November 30, 2010, and for the second year by November 30, 2011 and to submit an executive summary to the Division of Legislative Automated Systems no later than the first day of the next regular session of the General Assembly for each year.

Address and Eliminate Disparities

 No policy listed at this time


Emergency Medical System (EMS) and Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

Code of Virginia 8.01.225 (2008) - Any person who, in good faith and without compensation, renders or administers emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cardiac defibrillation, including, but not limited to, the use of an automated external defibrillator, or other emergency life-sustaining or resuscitative treatments or procedures which have been approved by the State Board of Health to any sick or injured person, whether at the scene of a fire, an accident or any other place, or while transporting such person to or from any hospital, clinic, doctor's office or other medical facility, shall be deemed qualified to administer such emergency treatments and procedures and shall not be liable for acts or omissions resulting from the rendering of such emergency resuscitative treatments or procedures. Any person who operates an automated external defibrillator at the scene of an emergency, trains individuals to be operators of automated external defibrillators, or orders automated external defibrillators, shall be immune from civil liability for any personal injury that results from any act or omission in the use of an automated external defibrillator in an emergency where the person performing the defibrillation acts as an ordinary, reasonably prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances, unless such personal injury results from gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct of the person rendering such emergency care.

HJR177 (1998) - The Virginia Departments of Health and Emergency Services are requested to encourage those first responder units which need assistance with the purchase of automated external defibrillators and training of personnel in the use of such equipment to work with the local Heart Association to raise the funds, with the goal of having all first responder units equipped with and trained on automated external defibrillators by the year 2000.

Stroke Systems of Care 

Code of Virgina 32.1-111.3, VA HB479, SB344 (2008) - The Board of Health shall also develop and maintain as a component of the Emergency Medical Services Plan a statewide prehospital and interhospital Stroke Triage Plan designed to promote rapid access for stroke patients to appropriate, organized stroke care through the publication and regular updating of information on resources for stroke care and generally accepted criteria for stroke triage and appropriate transfer.

SJR427 (2007) - The General Assembly hereby commends and congratulates Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, CJW Medical Center in Richmond, Inova Alexandria Hospital, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Sentara Hospitals Norfolk, Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, and Winchester Medical Center, Inc., for achieving Primary Stroke Center certification. 

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