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Walgreens teams with HHS, CDC, CMS to improve heart health
September 13th, 2011
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. has joined with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in a new effort to fight heart disease with Million Hearts Initiative in Washington, D.C.
Walgreens said Tuesday that the public-private sector initiative aims to help prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years by reducing the number of people who need treatment and improving the quality of treatment. According to the CDC, heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death.
In the initiative, Walgreens will engage its more than 26,000 health care providers — at its nearly 7,800 drug stores and 250 Take Care Clinics — to support the Million Hearts prevention goal by providing free blood pressure testing in consultation with a Walgreens pharmacist or a Take Care health providers.
In addition, the drug chain said it plans to promote diabetes health testing in November and heart health in February and make Million Hearts resources available at its stores nationwide.
"We are pleased to partner with HHS, the CDC and CMS to help patients learn to live healthier lives while providing quality, accessible care," stated Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens, who participated in the announcement of the public-private initiative on Tuesday in Washington. "Participation in this campaign is another example of the opportunity our pharmacists and Take Care Health providers have to drive positive health outcomes through their face-to-face interactions with patients."
Million Hearts is also working with other health practitioners, private insurers, employers, health advocacy groups and community organizations to reach the campaign's goals. Those include empowering Americans to make healthy choices such as preventing tobacco use and reducing sodium and trans fat consumption, as well as by improving care for people who need treatment by encouraging a targeted focus on the "ABCS" — Aspirin for people at risk, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management and Smoking cessation.
“Heart disease causes 1 of every 3 American deaths and constitutes 17 percent of overall national health spending,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “By enlisting partners from across the health sector, Million Hearts will create a national focus on combating heart disease.”
Specifically, Million Hearts aims to achieve the following goals between now and 2017:
• Raise aspirin use for people at high risk from 47% to 65%.
• Improve blood pressure control from a baseline of 46% to 65%.
• Boost effective treatment of high cholesterol (LDL-C) from 33% to 65%.
• Reduce smoking prevalence from 19% to 17%.
• Cut sodium intake 20% to to an average of 3.5 grams per day,
• Halve artificial trans fat consumption to an average of 1% of calories per day.
"Through this public-private partnership, Million Hearts focuses on the areas that will save the most lives. It leverages and aligns current investments and is a great example of getting more health value from our existing health investments," commented Thomas Frieden, CDC director. "If we succeed in achieving our Million Hearts goals, 10 million more Americans with high blood pressure will have it under control, 20 million more Americans with high cholesterol will have it under control, and 4 million fewer Americans will smoke by 2017."
CMS administrator Donald Berwick stated, "The treatment of heart disease and stroke account for about $1 of every $6 spent on health care in this country. By shifting our focus from paying for how much care is provided to how to get the best health for Americans and putting more tools into the hands of health care providers and patients, CMS can help prevent strokes, heart attacks and avoidable human suffering."