Cardiac Rehabilitation

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Coronary heart disease patients who enroll in cardiac rehabilitation have a 26 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease-related death and an 18 percent lower risk of readmission at 1-year follow-up compared to those who don’t enroll. Despite these benefits, participation in cardiac rehabilitation programs remains low. Research found that women were 12% less likely to be referred than men, and Blacks, Hispanics, and Asian patients were 20%, 36%, and 50% less likely to be referred than White patients.1

The Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act of 2021 (H.R. 1956) is bipartisan legislation that would expand patient access to critical cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

What’s in the Bill?

The Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act of 2021 bill would:2

  • authorize advanced practice providers to order CR
  • authorize advanced practice providers to begin supervising patients’ day-to-day cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation care in 2022. These providers are already able to supervise these services beginning in 2024 – this legislation moves that date up.
  • eliminate obstacles, delays, and unnecessary paperwork that can prevent patients from beginning rehabilitation services that are needed on a timely basis.
  • take important steps to increase access to critical cardiac rehabilitation services, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

Take Action

As the most trusted profession in the country, the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association believes that nurses have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their patients through public policy.


  1. Li, S., Fonarow, G.C., Mukamal, K., Xu, H., Matsouaka, R.A., Devore, A.D., & Bhatt, D.L. (2018). Sex and racial disparities in cardiac rehabilitation referral at hospital discharge and gaps in long-term mortality. Journal of the American Heart Association. 7(8). Doi: 10.1161/JAHA.117.008088 
  2. Read the full text of the bill.