HHS Launches Million Hearts Hypertension Challenge

"Many heart attacks and strokes, and needless early deaths, can be prevented if we get better control of high blood pressure," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., MPH.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched an annual Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge, which aims to identify and honor clinicians and health care teams that have helped their patients control high blood pressure and prevent heart attacks and strokes. The challenge announced on Aug. 18 was developed by CDC in support of Million Hearts, an HHS initiative aimed at preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

"Many heart attacks and strokes, and needless early deaths, can be prevented if we get better control of high blood pressure," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., MPH. "We applaud the many medical practices which have made hypertension control a daily priority with all of their patients. We look forward to recognizing their achievements and learning from top-performing practices."

HHS' announcement said nearly one in three U.S. adults, or about 70 million people, has high blood pressure and only about half of them have it under control. High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 360,000 Americans in 2013.

"A growing number of public and private practices and systems are using evidence-based strategies to detect, connect, and control high blood pressure," said Dr. Janet S. Wright, M.D., F.A.C.C., executive director of Million Hearts. "This challenge is a way to find and celebrate these high performers and help others replicate their success. By excelling in hypertension control, champions are helping prevent events and improving heart health across the country."

Applicants must provide information about their practice, share verifiable high blood pressure control data, and describe how the use of health information technology contributed to their success. The deadline to submit a nomination is midnight on Oct. 31.

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