(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 and the pledge for the public to use 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.
About MedStar Health: As the largest healthcare provider in the Maryland-Washington, D.C., region, MedStar’s nine hospitals, MedStar Health Research Institute and 20 other health-related organizations are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. MedStar Health combines the best aspects of academic medicine, research, innovation and treatments with a complete spectrum of clinical services to advance patient care. MedStar has one of the largest graduate medical education programs in the country, training more than 1,100 medical residents annually and is the clinical partner of Georgetown University. As a $4 billion not-for-profit, regional healthcare system based in Columbia, Md., MedStar is one of the largest employers in the region. Our 27,000 associates, including more than 7,000 nurses and 5,600 affiliated physicians, support MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy that combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. Visit us at www.medstarhealth.org