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Medicare's Million Hearts Initiative Aims to Reduce Cardiac Disease

By Christopher Cheney  
   July 25, 2016

Under a new population health program, CMS will pay providers to reduce the absolute risk for heart disease or stroke among high-risk Medicare beneficiaries.

With the help of 516 inaugural participating healthcare providers nationwide, federal officials are harnessing data to rise to a pair of crucial population health challenges: reducing rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Launched on July 21, the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model is a data-driven effort designed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke among Medicare beneficiaries, federal officials said in a statement.

Participating providers will work with Medicare beneficiaries individually "to identify the best approach or approaches to reducing their risk of having a heart attack or stroke." Factors that will be considered include smoking cessation interventions, blood pressure management, and the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs or aspirin.

"Each beneficiary will receive a personalized risk modification plan that will target their specific risk factors. Organizations in the intervention group will be paid for reducing the absolute risk for heart disease or stroke among their high-risk beneficiaries," according to CMS.

The Million Hearts Campaign aligns well with the population health goals at Danville, PA-based Geisinger Health System, says Sanjay Doddamani, MD, system director of advanced cardiac disease and heart failure.

"We have gone from Baby Boomers, to Generation X, to Millennials carrying modifiable risks for heart attacks and strokes. As a steward for healthcare in the communities we serve, we are interested to see that our communities are smoke-free, physically on the move, eating right, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol and lipids by diet, exercise, and medications. The Million Hearts initiative aligns well with these goals," he says.


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Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.

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