Nine medical practices recognized for control of hypertension

Feb. 9, 2014 at 11:06 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Nearly 1-in-3 U.S. adults has high blood pressure, but fewer than half have it under control, the federal government says.

With such low compliance of hypertension, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Million Hearts initiative recognizes nine public and private practices and health systems across the country for success in achieving excellent rates of high blood pressure control.

The Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge is designed to identify practices, clinicians and health systems that have worked with their patients to successfully reduce high blood pressure and improve heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the Million Hearts initiative with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

"These practices have set up systems that work for patients and for providers. They use evidence-based guidelines and protocols, team-based care, electronic reminders to track patients' progress, and recognize high-performing staff," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement.

"By following their lead, we can help millions more Americans with high blood pressure get control. Controlling blood pressure saves lives and prevents disability from avoidable heart attacks and strokes."

The 2013 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Champions, who together care for more than 8.3 million adult patients, are:

-- Broadway Internal Medicine PC, New York.

-- Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, Keene, N.H.

-- Dr. Jen Brull, Plainville, Kan.

-- Dr. Nilesh V. Patel, Audubon, Pa.

-- Pawhuska Indian Health Center of the U.S. Indian Health Service; Pawhuska, Okla.

-- Kaiser Permanente, Northern California.

-- River Falls Medical Clinic, River Falls, Wis.

-- ThedaCare, Appleton, Wis.

-- Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Hypertension Control Champions represent small and large, urban and rural, and private and federal health practices and systems that achieved control rates ranging from 73 percent to more than 90 percent by using a variety of proven approaches, including:

-- Making high blood pressure control a priority at every visit.

-- Using evidence-based guidelines.

-- Working as a team -- physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, care coordinators and patients -- to achieve blood pressure control.

-- Using health information technology to track blood pressure readings over time, cue team members to talk about blood pressure with patients and adjust medications in a timely way to safely achieve control.

-- Staying engaged with patients by offering free blood pressure checks, in-home nurse visits and medication checks by pharmacists.

-- Publicly recognizing or using financial incentives to reward high-performing clinicians or teams.

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