The American Heart Association is deeply concerned about the public health crisis facing our country. Our top priority regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) is the health and well-being of all individuals and their families today and in the future, in every community, everywhere. Millions of people are counting on us for science-based information, health resources, community programs and patient support. We are continuing our mission-critical work in these challenging times and we know that people with cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension (high blood pressure), are more likely to be seriously impacted by the virus than others.
In the Greater Washington Region, we are all-in to control high blood pressure. Low income, uninsured and poorly controlled hypertension patients often rely on in-clinic or in-pharmacy blood pressure monitors. With social distancing and stay at home orders in effect, it is clear that alternative options are necessary. We are proud to partner with the Primary Care Coalition to assist these patients in Montgomery County, MD, where 36% of the population has high blood pressure, above the national average.
Together, the Primary Care Coalition and the American Heart Association are getting blood pressure monitors to hypertension patients, which will allow them to measure their blood pressure from home. We are also actively working to connect health care providers with technical assistance in using telemedicine systems and providing access to science based COVID-19 and blood pressure management information for both patients and providers.
The Primary Care Coalition administers Montgomery Cares, a public-private partnership that engages the ten independent safety-net clinics, the local health department, and the hospital systems serving Montgomery County in a coordinated effort to deliver high-quality and affordable health care to low-income and uninsured county residents. Many patients of the Montgomery Cares system live medically and socially complex lives. Maintaining ongoing connection to their primary care providers and access to treatment during this time is important for their health outcomes.
In the short term, this partnership seeks to maintain these crucial healthcare engagements whilst stay at home orders are in place. In addition, there is real potential for long term benefits. “We want to create a culture of self-measured blood pressure monitoring”, Barbara Eldridge, the Vice President of Quality and Clinical Programs at the Primary Care Coalition. “When it comes to measuring blood pressure, those who are empowered to do this at home on a regular basis have a much better chance of lowering their blood pressure compared to those who rely only on periodic measurement at the doctor’s office.”
By quickly identifying areas of need and devising practical solutions to address these needs, partnerships such as this will help us to continue to support those in our most vulnerable populations during this public health crisis.
Target: BP™ is a national initiative formed by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) in response to the high prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure (BP). Target: BP helps health care organizations and care teams, at no cost, improve BP control rates through an evidence-based quality improvement program and recognizes organizations committed to improving BP control.
Programs like these are the result of generous support from the community. To be a part of the Greater Washington Region’s Blood Pressure initiatives and to make an impact in your community, email [email protected]. To learn more about Target: BP visit: targetbp.org