More than 100 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure (BP), and less than half have it controlled. As a result, hypertension costs the U.S. tens of billions each year. In an effort to celebrate the health care organizations doing their part to improve the national BP-control rate, the AMA and its partner, the American Heart Association (AHA), have honored more than 300 physician practices and health systems across the country through the new Target: BP Recognition Program.
Those that were recognized are the first ever to receive awards through the new program. Physicians, practices and health care organizations that participated in the recognition program aimed to help raise the national BP-control rate to 70 percent or higher. In doing so, they are taking steps toward a reduction in the number of Americans who suffer from heart attacks and strokes.
The Target: BP Recognition Program celebrates physician practices and health systems that are making the management of hypertension a priority. There are two levels of recognition—Gold Status and Participation Status. Physician practices that received Gold Status had BP control in 70 percent or more of their adult patient population. Participation Status recognizes physician practices for their submitted data and commitment to reducing their share of adult patients with uncontrolled BP.
“While high blood pressure is an easy condition to treat in that we have the tools to do so, there are many variables and barriers to success for many patients,” AMA President David O. Barbe, MD said in a statement. “The AHA and AMA developed and piloted the Target: BP program to help bring patients and health care providers together to successfully get blood pressure under control, and help patients keep it controlled.”
“We applaud the providers who are already working hard to control their patients’ blood pressure, and we will continue to urge more physician practices, health systems and patients to join this effort to prioritize blood pressure control and increase the national control of blood pressure,” he added.
Recognition awards for 2017 are based on self-reported data submitted by Target: BP registrants for the 2016 calendar year.
The Target: BP Recognition Program is an extension of Target: BP, a national initiative that is the result of an AMA-AHA partnership. More than 1,100 physician practices and health systems nationwide have joined the effort.
One organization that received Gold Status recognition is the Foremost Family Health Clinic in Dallas. While 2017 was their first year participating in Target: BP, they are looking forward to entering the program again in 2018.
A strong focus for the clinic has been an emphasis on lifestyle change to lower blood pressures. In providing patients with monthly classes and activities to that end, the clinic’s associate medical director, Ashley Meusa, DPM, believes patients remain engaged in the effort to lower their BP rates. And with the release of the new AHA/ACC hypertension guideline, she and Lindsay Martin-Engel, MD, MPH, the clinic’s other associate medical director, said they know the practice will need to take on a more aggressive approach in their methods for ensuring patients are making good heart-health decisions in 2018.
Each year, participating medical groups will submit information about their adult patient populations. The evaluation data include the number of patients by age group, ethnicity and sex. The information submitted also includes the total number of adult patients with hypertension and those with controlled hypertension. Data for 2017 will be submitted in the first half of 2018with participants notified of recognition status in the fall. Registration is open to all medical practices.