Each year, approximately 1.5 million adults in the United States have a heart attack or stroke, resulting in approximately 30 deaths every hour and, for non-fatal events, often leading to long-term disability. To reduce these staggering statistics, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the national Million Hearts® initiative in 2011. The goal of the initiative is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017 by emphasizing four key preventive measures known as the ABCS: Aspirin as appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation.
In a report published on May 30, 2014 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, government health officials said that although more Americans are trying to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol, additional efforts by the general public and healthcare providers are needed to reduce heart attack and stroke risk factors. An analysis of the ABCS measures showed the prevalence of blood pressure control increased by 8.5 percentage points and cholesterol management increased by 9.8 percentage points from 2005 to 2012, but no statistically significant change in the prevalence of aspirin use or smoking assessment and treatment.
Because home health professionals are such an integral part of many of their patients’ lives – sometimes seeing them daily – their patients often develop an exceptional level of trust in them. This puts home health agencies in a unique position to make a big impact on our nation’s cardiovascular health.
One way CMS-reporting home health agencies are showing their commitment to improving preventive cardiovascular care is by participating in the Home Health Cardiovascular Data Registry (HHCDR) from the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign. In addition to receiving free monthly Cardiovascular Risk reports that are 100% automatically generated from their monthly OASIS-C transmissions, these agencies receive free monthly customized reports that track their improvement related to the ABCS of preventive cardiovascular care.
Registration with HHQI is required to participate in the Home Health Cardiovascular Registry, but it is quick and absolutely free. Learn more about HHQI at www.HomeHealthQuality.org/About-Us.
We’d love to hear what quality improvement efforts related to cardiovascular health your agency has initiated. Please share by commenting below.