Kaiser Permanente Southern California Named ‘Million Hearts Control Champion’

PASADENA, Calif.--()--The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) named Kaiser Permanente Southern California as one of its 2014 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions for its success in helping patients control high blood pressure.

"Through evidence-based guidelines, electronic reminders, a proactive team-based approach and committed staff, we have helped many Californians live longer lives, reducing their risk for heart attacks and strokes," said Joel Handler, MD, Kaiser Permanente Southern California hypertension lead.

Million Hearts® is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. In its third year of the Challenge, Million Hearts® recognized 30 public and private health care practices that achieved blood pressure control rates at or above 70 percent of their adult patients with hypertension through innovations in health information technology and electronic health records, patient communication, and health care team approaches.

Kaiser Permanente Southern California achieved hypertension control rates of 88.8 percent (Commercial) and 89.8 percent (Medicare) in 2014, nearly double the national average, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®). The integrated health care organization has achieved a significant increase in its hypertension control rate among members by leveraging its electronic medical record to coordinate outreach to patients with hypertension and manage their care. Some components of its patient-centered care strategy include:

  • Providing patients with multiple means of connecting with their providers by phone, email, or in person and accessing information and health support tools. Walk-in medical assistant blood pressure checks without copayments have significantly increased the opportunity to reach out to members with this important test.
  • A designated blood pressure apparatus carried in all Kaiser Permanente pharmacies. Pharmacists assist patients to select proper cuff sizes.
  • A comprehensive hypertension registry that allows population care experts to track patients with uncontrolled hypertension for targeted interventions to promote control, allowing regular performance feedback reports to health care teams.
  • A simple hypertension drug treatment algorithm based upon single pill drug combination therapy has fostered provider and patient adherence.
  • Patients overdue for refills or those with low adherence receive a telephone call reminder via a recorded message or from a pharmacist.
  • Automated calls to members whose last blood pressure was taken between 6 and 7 months ago and members with the last two recorded readings showing blood pressure that is not under control, receive outreach advising them to visit any Kaiser Permanente facility without an appointment for a blood pressure check.
  • Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s initiative to close the blood pressure disparity gap between African American and white members includes addressing medication adherence problems, trust building, manager training, and group sessions.

"Million Hearts launched this challenge in 2012 to recognize clinicians and health care teams across the country for helping their patients protect heart health," said Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, CDC director. "We implore other health systems to follow the lead of these physicians and clinics which are succeeding in saving lives and preventing disability from avoidable heart disease and stroke."

Kaiser Permanente Southern California was recognized as the only health care system to eliminate the disparity in blood pressure control between African Americans and whites. The HHS recognition follows a Kaiser Permanente Southern California research study that details how the heath care organization improved blood pressure control in a large multiethnic California population through health care delivery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 3 American adults have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Only half have it under control, putting them at greater risk of developing heart disease or stroke – two of the leading causes of death in the U.S.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to addressing hypertension and cardiovascular health overall. In 2013, HHS also recognized Kaiser Permanente Northern California for its success in controlling hypertension across its entire patient population and in 2012 Kaiser Permanente Colorado was named a Million Hearts® Hypertension Champion. Also, for the last few years, Kaiser Permanente has encouraged diabetes patients who are at least 55 years old to participate in an aggressive initiative to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The ALL initiative is a therapeutic program that includes the use of aspirin, lisinopril and a lipid-lowering medication. The initiative, which also now includes the use of a beta blocker, is also actively promoted and shared with other health systems outside Kaiser Permanente.

Million Hearts®, a national initiative led by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, launched the Hypertension Control Challenge to recognize health care teams and practices across the country for helping their patients keep blood pressure under control.

To learn more about the Hypertension Control Challenge and the 2014 Champions, please visit the Million Hearts website: http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/newsevents/hypertension_control_champions.html.

About Kaiser Permanente Southern California

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 3.8 million members in Southern California. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information follow us on twitter; @KPSCALNews or go to: www.kp.org/share.

Contacts

Kaiser Permanente
Southern California Region
Sandra Hernandez-Millett
Office: 626-405-5384
Mobile: 626-696-9051
sandra.d.hernandez-millett@kp.org

Release Summary

The US Department of Health and Human Services named Kaiser Permanente as one of its 2014 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions for its success in helping patients control high blood pressure

Contacts

Kaiser Permanente
Southern California Region
Sandra Hernandez-Millett
Office: 626-405-5384
Mobile: 626-696-9051
sandra.d.hernandez-millett@kp.org