American Heart Association Selected for Effective Voice of the Year 2023 Award In Geneva
Melissa Overton

It is not every day we have an opportunity to help shape policy so when we received word from the American Heart Association that CEO Melissa Overton’s medical billing story played a small role in helping AHA’s “Surprise Medical Billing” campaign we were elated!

Unexpected medical bills have devastated the finances of millions of families – even when covered by insurance. Patients suffering from cardiac arrest, heart attack or stroke should be able to focus on their health rather than worry about the financial costs that may result from unexpected medical care.

Melissa Overton works as a nurse with two children. When her son Thomas needed immediate care, she was told her share of the cost would be $6,000. The bill was $42,000. Her story is one of millions across the U.S. 

For years, the American Heart Association led patient advocacy efforts to prevent Melissa’s common surprise medical billing experience for others. In December 2020, the Not Surprises Act passed. In its first year, the law prevented over 12 million surprise medical bills and continues to do so today.

Play Video about Melissa Overton


“This May, the World Heart Federation will host the World Heart Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. Leaders and innovators from government, business, civil society and academia will engage in transformational conversations and explore some of the most pressing challenges in global cardiovascular health. At the event there will be an exhibition (sample visual attached) highlighting winners of the World Heart Awards. The American Heart Association’s “Surprise Medical Billing” Campaign was selected to receive the Award for the Effective Voice of the Year 2023. Yay!

Your story made a huge impact on this campaign. With your approval, we would love to use the photo attached (or another photo of your preference) and the blurb below to represent the campaign.


Jennifer Bethea
Advocacy Communications Manager
American Heart Association

We are very fortunate to receive the recognition and to have a positive impact for families like ours that are forced to battle medical billing practices in times where we really need to focus on supporting and caring for our loved ones.