(Columbia, MD) — MedStar Health today becomes the very first health system to join a national effort to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. The campaign, known as Million Hearts™, is based on the premise that a more consistent application of four relatively simple and proven strategies will make a significant difference in prevention. So now, every MedStar Health patient who sees a primary care physician or cardiologist will be asked to take the “Million Hearts Pledge” and to observe four strategies known as the ABCs. They are:
» Aspirin use where appropriate, and where benefits outweigh risks
» Blood pressure screening, and for people with hypertension, getting blood pressure under control
» Cholesterol screening, and for people with high cholesterol, getting cholesterols under control
» Smoking status evaluation, and for smokers, smoking cessation counseling and treatment.
In addition, MedStar Health has placed information about Million Hearts program and pledge and an educational video about the value of the ABCS for the public on our website.
“What is so exciting about Million Hearts is that we are making prevention of heart disease a priority part of our patient care”, says William Thomas, MD, Chief Medical Officer of MedStar Health. “It’s just common sense, sound medicine and the right thing to do for patients.”
The latest statistics are sobering. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), heart disease causes one of every three American deaths and constitutes 17 percent of national health spending. Approximately 49 percent of adults have at least one major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease costs $444 billion every year in lost productivity and medical expenses.
Last year, the HHS launched the Million Hearts initiative. It is supported by numerous federal, state and local government agencies, several medical professional organizations, as well as academic institutions like Georgetown University. While MedStar was the first health system, others are already beginning to follow the Maryland-based system’s lead.