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Saving Lives and Advancing Equity: Temple Health is First Academic Medical Center to Endorse National Blood Clot Awareness Bill

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 Dr. Rali and members of the National Blood Clot Alliance meet with Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill.

It’s estimated that a blood clot kills one American every six minutes—and for U.S. House of Representatives member Lisa Blunt Rochester, that statistic is personal. In 2014, her husband Charles Rochester tore his Achilles tendon after playing a game of pickup basketball, and then passed away after blood clots traveled to his heart and lungs. In his memory, Congresswoman Blunt Rochester—who represents Delaware’s at-large Congressional district—introduced H.R. 5699, or the Charles Rochester Blood Clot Prevention and Treatment Act.

Congresswoman Blunt Rochester (left) with Olympic medalist Katie Hoff, who suffered from blood clots in her past. 

The bill involves launching a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of blood clot risk; establishing a federal advisory committee on blood clot treatment and research that would report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services; and improving data collection practices to give the CDC a better understanding of how many Americans are impacted by blood clots.

In short, this is a monumental piece of legislation that would transform the way we understand and treat blood clots. Not only are blood clots often misdiagnosed, and no national repository for blood clot data currently exists, but, according to one study, only 6% of Americans know what a blood clot is. In drafting the bill, Rep. Blunt Rochester worked with the leading experts in blood clot treatment and advocacy—including Temple Health’s own Parth Rali, MD, Director of our Pulmonary Embolism Response Team.

Dr. Rali is a pioneer in cutting-edge blood clot treatments, using new technologies and multidisciplinary approaches to save patients’ lives. He’s also active within the PERT Consortium and CHEST-The American College of Chest Physicians, and often partners with the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA). The NBCA collaborated with Representative Blunt Rochester’s office on H.R. 5699, and its president, Leslie Lake—knowing the Representative’s team was searching for experts—referred them to Dr. Rali.

Health Equity Here at Home

“This bill will have a very significant impact on the national level,” Dr. Rali says. “But I also think it’ll make an important difference for our patient population here at Temple.” Indeed, blood clots are even more of a crisis in the Black community: the Black population has a 30-60% higher occurrence of blood clots than Caucasians, with a correspondingly higher mortality rate.

When Rep. Blunt Rochester’s office asked Dr. Rali to add his comments to the draft text of the bill, he focused on these issues of health equity. “I noted what I thought should be the priority in the bill, which is blood clot awareness among African-American and young patients,” Dr. Rali explains. “I also suggested focusing on patients of lower socioeconomic status, because we know those patients tend to have more adverse outcomes.”

Given the bill’s focus on the issues that matter to our patient population, Dr. Rali worked with Abhi Rastogi, MBA, MIS, President and CEO of Temple University Hospital, Inc. and Executive Vice President of Temple Health, Gerard J. Criner, MD, FACP, FACCP, Director of the Temple Lung Center, and Katherine Levins, JD, MBA, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs, to have Temple Health and the Temple Lung Center endorse the legislation.

“As a critical safety-net hospital serving a racially and ethnically diverse community, including a significant African American population, we recognize the critical importance of this bill,” Rastogi, Dr. Criner, and Dr. Rali wrote. “Under the leadership of Dr. Parth Rali, our Pulmonary Embolism Response Team program has closely monitored nearly 1,000 patients in recent years, offering advanced care and intervention for those affected by [blood clots]. Our experience underscores the urgent need for enhanced public awareness, education, and research to prevent and treat blood clots effectively.”

For Dr. Rali, Temple Health’s decision to endorse the bill is more evidence of our continued health equity leadership. “We were the first academic medical center to endorse the legislation,” he says. “I’m sure there will be more, but we were the first. That’s a very big deal.” 

Nationally-Recognized Advocacy

Since the Charles Rochester Blood Clot Prevention and Treatment Act was introduced in September 2023, Rep. Blunt Rochester’s team has been working hard to earn support for the bill on both sides of the aisle. The legislation is co-led by Larry Buchshon, MD (R-IN), Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX), and Paul Tonko (D-NY).

On March 6, 2024, Dr. Rali traveled to Capitol Hill with members of NBCA to meet with members of Congress about the bill, as well as to advocate for more funding for the CDC for venous thromboembolism awareness and physician education. “What we had to say was very well-received,” Dr. Rali recalls. “There was a lot of interest.”

The next step is for the bill to move to committee, and while there isn’t a date set for it to do so, Dr. Rali is committed to continuing his advocacy and supporting Rep. Blunt Rochester in anything she needs (he and NBCA President Leslie Lake even recently had a call with Senator John Fetterman’s office). For him, the most important thing is to increase awareness in the hope that it will save lives—or as Rep. Blunt Rochester put it when speaking about how her late husband inspires her, “turning that pain into purpose.”


Dr. Rali and members of the NBCA in D.C