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Great change for heart health examinations

A change is imminent and there will be more hearts beating longer.

Effective November 1, Medicare will increase the heart health discount to 100 percent, meaning that more than 1.5 million Australians at risk for heart attack or stroke will have free access to heart health assessments given by family physicians.

This was after Heart Foundation's award-winning Serial Killer Campaign and News Corp Australia in February, where the federal government introduced the new 85 percent Medicare rebate for the first nationwide heart health screening program.

The Serial Killer campaign highlighted the 51 Australians who die every day from heart disease.

  Heart health examinations are free. Picture: iStock

Heart controls are free. Image: iStock

Bill Stavrevski, general manager of the Heart Foundation's Heart Health and Research, said the increase would benefit both family doctors and patients.

"This change will pay more time to family physicians and better support general practices for prioritizing the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease," he said.

"The Heart Foundation is pleased to see that the response from the general medical community has been taken into account, and we look forward to continuing our close collaboration with family physicians and nurses to increase the acceptance of heart health examinations."

Since the program was first introduced five months ago, more than 35,000 people have had the opportunity to evaluate heart disease risk and to help patients reduce that risk.

"Our Serial Killer partnership with News Corp has shown what can be achieved when two companies use their combined talents, energy and passion to work towards a common goal," Stavrevski said.

"The campaign helped to spread a message that we had wanted to share with governments for more than a decade – more needed to protect Australian hearts from this deadly disease – and delivered the new MBS article week in less than a year. "

During a cardiac health check, GPs try to identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease through blood tests, discuss lifestyle and family history, and check blood pressure. This information is used to develop and implement a management plan.

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