Healthcare Business News

Campaign aims to prevent heart attacks, strokes

By Gregg Blesch
Posted: September 13, 2011 - 12:30 pm ET

HHS and several partner agencies, organizations and corporations say they will collaborate in a campaign aimed at preventing 1 million deaths from heart attacks and strokes over the next five years.

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The initiative, according to the Million Hearts website, will “scale-up proven clinical and community strategies.”

“We're paying much too high a price, and together we must and can do better,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at a Washington event announcing the campaign. Heart disease accounts for one of every six dollars spent on healthcare in the U.S., and heart attacks and strokes cause 800,000 deaths a year, Sebelius said.

The campaign will be led by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden and CMS Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick. Partners, according to the website, include America's Health Insurance Plans, the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Pharmacists Association, UnitedHealthcare and Walgreen Co.

Berwick, speaking at the event with Sebelius, said the government will use its quality measuring and reporting system and meaningful-use criteria to pursue the goals of the campaign, and he mentioned the importance of quality improvement organizations in reproducing results throughout the U.S.

No details regarding government funding or private contributions were mentioned. Berwick, however, announced that the CMS has awarded $85 million in grants to 10 states for programs that address chronic diseases and behaviors, such as smoking, that contribute to heart disease. He did not name the states.

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