HHS Launches Heart Disease Prevention Campaign

Cheryl Clark , September 14, 2011

Additionally, the campaign seeks to reduce sodium intake by 20% from its current per person average of 3.5 grams per day, and cut by half the average American's consumption of calories from artificial trans fat.

HHS officials said they intend to "focus and align" measurement tools to simply reporting for healthcare providers on how well disease prevention benchmarks are being met. CMS plans to expand the role of the Physician Quality Reporting System (or PQRI), which provides bonus payments, and in the future payment reductions based on the reporting of quality information related to the ABCS. Currently no new reporting measures are planned but officials said that may change as the program gains momentum.

Additionally, they hope to use health information technology and electronic record systems to improve providers' tools to make sure patients receive appropriate care.

To learn new ways to prevent heart disease and stroke, the administration intends to focus on clinical innovations, perhaps through Medicare's 53 Quality Improvement Organizations or QIOs.

Other efforts tagged with the campaign include:
• The release by the CDC of $40 million total state health departments to find ways to improve cardiovascular health

• Efforts by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety and Inspection Service to find ways to reduce sodium in processed and restaurant foods "to put more control into consumers' hands."

• A $2 million pharmacy outreach project from the CDC to help pharmacists provide additional advice to patients with high blood pressure.

• CMS is releasing $85 million for Medicaid Incentives for Prevention of Chronic Diseases, a project set forth by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, for 10 states.

• $4.2 million from the CDC to seven national community-based organization networks.
The administration touted "alignment and support" from the following organizations and companies:

• Walgreens is offering free blood pressure testing and consultations with a company pharmacist or nurse practitioner.

• The American Heart Association will monitor progress of the initiative's goals and help patients access heart disease management tools online.

• The YMCA or The Y plans to expand diabetes prevention program and other efforts to address population risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

• The American Pharmacists' Association and its foundation "will encourage its more than 62,000 members to engage in the Million Hearts Campaign by raising awareness with their patients and their communities." The National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations and the Alliance for Patient Medication Safety will encourage state pharmacy association to plan supportive activities, according to an HHS news release.

Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health insurance Plans, said her group strongly supports the Million Hearts initiative and is "eager to collaborate with other stakeholders."


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