Heart sector congratulates Minister Butler for extending the Heart Health Check

A coalition of key Australian heart organisations has today congratulated the Australian Government and Health
Minister Mark Butler for taking strong action to protect Australian hearts by extending the Medicare Heart Health
Check for two years.

The coalition includes the National Heart Foundation of Australia, 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 Hearts 4 Heart.

Minister Butler today announced that Medicare Benefits Schedule items 699 and 177 – the Heart Health Check –
will be funded for another two years, with at least 250,000 Australians expected to take up a Check in that time

The Heart Health Check was first introduced in 2019 and since then has been taken up by more than 450,000
Australians, saving thousands of lives.
David Lloyd, CEO of the National Heart Foundation of Australia, said:

“I want to thank the Minister for this crucial extension of the Medicare Heart Health Checks for another two years,
ensuring that millions of at-risk Australians continue to have a chance to avoid a debilitating heart attack or

“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.”

Tanya Hall CEO and founder of leading patient organisation Hearts4heart said:

“Hearts4heart welcomes the continuation of the MBS Heart Health Check, which is a vital step towards improving
the heart health of Australians. We are grateful to the Australian Government for recognising the importance of
this life-saving health check for patients, carers, and all Australians who continue to benefit from it. This
commitment to heart health will undoubtedly help save lives and reduce the burden of heart disease in our

Professor Jason Kovacic, Executive Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, said:

“Fatal heart attacks have been on the rise since COVID with 14,000 Australians losing their lives from ischemic
heart disease in the first 10 months of 2022 alone. This was not the time to cut Heart Health Checks and we
applaud the Minister for Health for extending these vital tests for two more years.

“We look forward to working with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to ensure that every eligible Australian gets this life-saving test and that together we turn the tide on Australia’s biggest killer.”

Professor Tom Marwick, Director of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, said:

“We are delighted to see the strong focus on heart disease prevention by Minister Butler and the Federal Government.

“Heart disease is the number one killer of Australians but it doesn’t have to be. Heart disease is a largely
preventable disease that is associated with many risk factors that are modifiable, and that’s why it is so important
to help people understand their risk of having a heart attack or stroke by having a heart health check.”

Heart Support Australia appoints new Patrons

Heart Support Australia is currently entering a new era of rapid expansion and growth across Australia. As
a part of the strategic goal to grow the organisation over the coming months, there is an important need
to have a stronger relationship with prominent Australian leaders in the field of cardiovascular disease to
enhance and champion the work being done by Heart Support Australia to assist patients living with heart

We are pleased to announce our new Patrons for Heart Support Australia for the next two years and are
thankful for their support of our organisation and the work we do.
o Prof Clara Chow AM
o Prof Gemma Figtree AM
o Prof Robyn Gallagher
o Prof Jeroen Hendriks
o Prof Stephen Nicholls
o Prof Julie Redfern
o Prof Prash Sanders
o Dr Ross Walker

Our Chief Executive Officer Dr Christian Verdicchio is delighted to have such a high calibre group of
individuals being patrons of Heart Support Australia.

“On behalf of Heart Support Australia, we are delighted to have such an amazing list of individuals who
have all played a leading national or international role in heart disease, and it just goes to show how well
respected Heart Support Australia is by the leaders within our field.

“I look forward to growing Heart Support Australia over the coming months and am thankful for the
support our patrons have given us to go ahead and continue the amazing work our team does to assist
those patients living with heart disease.”

The Chair of Heart Support Australia, Rowley Tompsett, echoed the Chief Executive Officer’s comments:

“I am delighted so many of Australia’s prominent cardiac specialists have agreed to support the mission of
Heart Support Australia. I thank them for their support and look forward with working with them to
provide peer support to those many Australians and their families whose lives have been impacted by a
cardiac event.”

Heart Support Australia appoints National Hospital Patient Visitor Instructor

Heart Support Australia is currently under a new era of rapid expansion and growth across Australia since being under the direction of the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer earlier in the year.

As a part of the strategic goals of the organization to grow over the coming months, the processes in place to support the volunteers must also expand to ensure we can maintain an effective program delivery across our locations Australia wide.

Our Hospital Patient Visitors are specialized trained volunteers who attend various hospitals across Australia to
provide bedside peer support for new patients diagnosed with heart disease or undergoing a cardiac surgery.

To ensure continual support of the existing patient visitors in conjunction with the training of new patient visitor
volunteers who wish to work with Heart Support Australia, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Bob
Stirling to the inaugural role as National Hospital Patient Visitor Instructor.

Our Chief Executive Officer Dr Christian Verdicchio is delighted to have Bob join the national team.

“On behalf of Heart Support Australia, we are delighted to have Bob join the team in such an important role to
support and train Hospital Patient Visitors.

This volunteer role is a very delicate and specialized task that requires a
lot of attention to detail when dealing with patients in the hospital setting going through a difficult time.

“Bob is not only our Peer Support Group Leader for Canberra, but an active patient visitor himself in the ACT
hospitals, given his own experiences being diagnosed with heart disease over 10-years ago.

He brings a wealth of experience to this role and was a key person in developing the training material over the last year.

“I look forward to working with Bob to support our current patient visitors and train the new wave of patient visitors who wish to join Heart Support Australia.”

Bob Stirling thanked the Chief Executive Officer for his comments and welcome.

“I am delighted and honored to take up such a role that I am passionate about. I would like to thank the CEO of
Heart Support Australia Dr Christian Verdicchio for his support in formalising this role and I look forward to working
with him and his amazing team to provide the very best support to those patients in hospital”.

This appointment commences immediately with courses running regularly for new Hospital Patient Visitors.
For further information please contact Heart Support Australia on 02 6253 0097 or visit our website at

Media Contact:
Alison Lamb
E: office@heartnet.org.au
P: 02 6253 0097

Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.