Guest post by Ellen Robinson, NACHC Director, Information Resources and Outreach Clinical Affairs
While health centers work to improve heart health 12 months of the year, February’s American Heart Month allows us to highlight the work that NACHC is doing in support of the Million Hearts® initiative. Million Hearts®, co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has a goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
Since 2014, NACHC has partnered with the CDC to improve the detection, diagnosis and treatment of hypertensive (high blood pressure) patients “hiding in plain sight” (HIPS) at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). The project used health information technology and quality improvement initiatives to standardize and improve the detection and diagnosis of high blood pressure.
The original HIPS project targeted 150,000+ adult patients ages 18-85 and involved teams at 10 health centers in four health center-controlled networks (HCCNs) distributed across California, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Missouri:
- Golden Valley Health Centers, Merced, CA
- Altura Centers for Health, Tulare, CA
- Neighborhood Healthcare, Escondido, CA
- La Maestra Community Health Centers, City Heights, CA
- ARcare, Augusta, AR
- Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, Whitesburg, KY
- Grace Community Health Center, Wooten, KY
- Affinia Healthcare, St. Louis, MO
- Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Springfield, MO
- Myrtle Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Centers, Inc., St. Louis, MO
The best resources and tools applied or developed during the project’s first year to address undiagnosed hypertension were compiled into a HIPS Change Package.
During the second year, NACHC worked with 11 health centers (adding Sterling Health Solutions, Inc., in Mt. Sterling, KY) to continue interventions to identify patients at risk for undiagnosed hypertension as well as leverage systems, population health, and individual care-level evidence-based strategies outlined in the CDC/Million Hearts Hypertension Control Change Package to improve blood pressure control with diagnosed hypertension patients. Kudos to Grace Community Health Center who was the first center to reach the project’s 10% improvement goal for blood pressure control!
Is your health center working to reduce heart disease in the community? Tell us about it and we will feature it on this blog.