Canadian cardiovascular community urges Federal government to address disparities in cardiac patient care across Canada in Budget 2019


OTTAWA, September 18, 2018 – The federal government has the opportunity to standardize and improve patient care for 2.4 million Canadians affected by cardiovascular disease.

That’s the message in the Canadian Cardiovascular Society’s (CCS) 2019 federal budget recommendation: Addressing Disparities in the Quality of Cardiac Care in Canada. The cardiac care community agrees this can only be achieved through investment in a national benchmarking program that would facilitate improvements in the quality of patient care and ensure consistent, high-quality delivery.

Without ongoing comparative assessment of activities and outcomes, many Canadian cardiologists, surgeons, and scientists are unable to assess how their patient outcomes fare relative to their colleagues in other Canadian care centres and institutions.

“Currently, many cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons in Canada have no clear way of evaluating how their patient outcomes compare to those of their colleagues locally, provincially or nationally,” said Dr. Catherine Kells, CCS President. “As a result, they have no way to identify gaps in care, learn from their peers, or improve the delivery of care in an evidence-based way.”

Having an already highly engaged community of frontline health practitioners would allow the CCS to play a pivotal role in the successful scale and spread of health system innovations that exist in pockets across the country. Further, this bottom-up approach can serve as a model for health system transformation in other provinces/territories, and in other areas of chronic disease.

Federal investment in this transformative heart health initiative will facilitate improvements in the quality of patient care and outcomes, reduce health disparities, and increase accountability and patient confidence in the health system. This will promote a culture of continuous quality improvement that will ensure efficient, effective, and equitable allocation of resources. Further, it will enable Canadians to maintain a higher quality of life and help to avoid the physical and cognitive decline that leads to home and long-term care.

“With a rapidly aging Canadian population, this government can show clear leadership by seizing the opportunity to improve the health of Canadian heart patients in a significant and evidence-based way,” said Dr. Kells.

In the spirit of the 2019 pre-budget consultation theme, Economic Growth: Ensuring Canada’s Competitiveness, the CCS would be pleased to support the federal government in addressing health disparities that threaten the sustainability of the Canadian health care system and our economy. This can only be accomplished by providing health care practitioners with the tools to make evidence-informed decisions as they strive to improve the quality of cardiac patient care.

The CCS is scheduled to appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on Thursday, September 20 in view of its study of the pre-budget consultations in advance of the 2019 federal budget. Read CCS’s full pre-budget submission here.

About the Canadian Cardiovascular Society
The Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) is the national specialty society for cardiovascular medicine in Canada, representing more than 2,500 cardiologists, surgeons and scientists. Established in 1947, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society works to promote cardiovascular health and care excellence through knowledge translation, professional development and health policy.

Facts about heart disease and disparities in Canada

  • Each year, 33,600 Canadians die as a result of heart disease. It is a leading cause of death in Canada, along with cancer.
  • Twenty percent of Canadians aged 65+ live with heart disease. Nine in 10 Canadians aged 20+ have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
  • The economic burden of heart disease is estimated at $20.9 billion, and is expected to reach $28.3 billion by 2020.
  • Indigenous peoples have higher heart disease rates than the general Canadian population and they are more likely to die as a result.
  • Compared to men, women who suffered a heart attack are 30% more likely to die and the disparity is greater in younger women.
  • Individuals of lower socioeconomic status are less likely to receive cardiac surgery following a heart attack, and more likely to be readmitted to hospital.

For more information:
Julie Graves
Coordinator, Marketing & Communications
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
613-569-3407 x 416