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American Pharmacists Association Partners with HHS, CDC and CMS in the Million Hearts Initiative
Date:9/13/2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) announced it has joined the newly launched Million Hearts Initiative, a coordinated approach to preventing cardiovascular disease and stroke in the U.S. Co-led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the initiative's goal is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes, over the next five years, by reducing the number of people who need treatment and improving the quality of treatment for those who need it.

Cardiovascular disease is a major health concern in America, causing 1 of every 3 deaths. With over 2 million heart attacks and strokes each year, cardiovascular disease causes an enormous loss of life and carries a huge financial burden for our country, accounting for about $1 of every $6 spent on health care. Hypertension and hyperlipidemia are primary contributing cardiovascular health risks. These two conditions combined affect more than 80 million Americans annually.

"The Million Hearts Initiative presents an opportunity for pharmacists to reach out to their patients with a range of pharmacy-based cardiovascular maintenance services," stated Thomas Menighan, APhA CEO and Executive Vice President. "The HHS, CDC and CMS have asked APhA pharmacists to be principal partners in this initiative, along with the AMA and the ANA, recognizing the important role we play in patient care. Pharmacists are ideally positioned to help manage blood pressure and cholesterol medication therapy and empower patients to take control of their cardiovascular health by adhering to their medication regimens. I urge pharmacists in every setting to partner with their patients and other healthcare providers to take action on the goals of this initiative."

As the public's most accessible health care provider, pharmacists can play a significant role in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. In fact, studies have already demonstrated the value of pharmacists in improving cardiovascular outcomes. In 2009, a trial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that collaboration between physicians and pharmacists resulted in better control of hypertension, the most common cardiovascular disease and a major contributor to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. To learn more about the specific ways pharmacists can assist in the management of cardiovascular disease, please see APhA's Your Pharmacist and You: Preventing Cardiovascular Disease Fact Sheet.

The APhA Foundation has conducted several studies involving pharmacists in cardiovascular health. It has focused its efforts on creating models that optimize the pharmacist's role in closer monitoring, appropriate treatment and education, and the empowerment of patients. Research has shown that pharmacists can maximize patient outcomes, improve patients' quality of life, and contain or reduce health care costs.

  • Project ImPACT: Hypertension: Launched in 2011, Project ImPACT Hypertension is a one year demonstration project from the APhA Foundation in collaboration with Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. The project's objectives are to improve the identification of hypertensive patients, improve adherence to medication, create a value-based hypertension benefit, assist patients with hypertension to achieve national treatment goals and measure patient satisfaction. Over 90 patients are enrolled and receiving care from pharmacists; this model involves patients, pharmacists, physicians and other providers collaborating to improve cardiovascular health.
  • The Asheville Project: Ongoing since 1996, The Asheville Project was an independent effort by the City of Asheville, North Carolina, to provide education and personal oversight for employees with chronic health problems such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Patients were teamed with community pharmacists who ensured they were using their medications correctly.
  • Project ImPACT: Hyperlipidemia: Launched in 1996 and completed in 1999, the Foundation's first national demonstration project was a landmark study that showed the value of an innovative point-of-care technology combined with a process of care that includes collaboration among patients, pharmacists, physicians and other health care providers.

APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists Initiative:

  • Operation Heart: Launched in 2010, Operation Heart is a national patient care program that supports the development of student-led community projects which will address and prevent cardiovascular disease. Students work to encourage lifestyle modifications, monitor associated risk factors and provide specific education about medications for heart disease. During the first six months of the program, student pharmacists conducted 601 community events that screened over 63,000 individuals for risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and educated 1.7 million through public relations efforts.

The Million Hearts Initiative was launched on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, and ongoing implementation will occur over the next five years (January 2012-January 2017). The broad array of partner groups includes federal agencies, health practitioners, private insurers, industry and large employers, health advocacy groups and community organizations. For more information, visit http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/.

About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States.


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