NCPA, APhA members to play critical role in government's Million Hearts campaign

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As part of the launch of the Department of Health and Human Services' Million Hearts campaign on Tuesday, HHS identified several key association partners, including the National Community Pharmacist Association and the American Pharmacists Association.

“NCPA enthusiastically supports the Million Hearts Initiative and will encourage all 23,000 independent community pharmacies to become involved," NCPA president Bob Greenwood said. “Many community pharmacists currently offer disease state management programs supporting the Million Hearts goal. These include blood pressure and lipid monitoring, smoking cessation services, and NCPA’s new Simplify My Meds adherence program, which provides pharmacists with tools to coordinate a patient’s refills to occur on a single day and boost medication adherence."

“The Million Hearts Initiative presents an opportunity for pharmacists to reach out to their patients with a range of pharmacy-based cardiovascular maintenance services,” APhA EVP and CEO Thomas Menighan said. “The HHS, CDC and CMS have asked APhA pharmacists to be principal partners in this initiative, along with the [American Medical Association] and the [American Nurses Association], recognizing the important role we play in patient care. Pharmacists are ideally positioned to help manage blood pressure and cholesterol medication therapy and empower patients to take control of their cardiovascular health by adhering to their medication regimens.”

Million Hearts is a private-public joint initiative that aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. By empowering Americans to make healthy choices and improving care across independent pharmacies and Walgreens, a chain partner also identified Tuesday, Million Hearts strives to achieve the following specific goals by 2017:

  • Daily supplementation of 81 mg aspirin by 65% of people at high risk, up from a baseline of 47% today;

  • Blood pressure control by 65% of high-risk people from a baseline of 46%;

  • Effective treatment of high cholesterol (from 33% to 65%);

  • Reduce smoking prevalence (from 19% to 17%);

  • Reduce average daily sodium intake by 20% — Americans on average consumer 3.5 g of sodium per day; and

  • Realize a 50% reduction in artificial trans fat consumption, which today represents 1% of calories consumed per day.

“Through this public-private partnership, Million Hearts focuses on the areas that will save the most lives. It leverages and aligns current investments and is a great example of getting more health value from our existing health investments,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Thomas Frieden said. “If we succeed in achieving our Million Hearts goals, 10 million more Americans with high blood pressure will have it under control, 20 million more Americans with high cholesterol will have it under control, and 4 million fewer Americans will smoke by 2017.”

CDC is announcing a $2 million Pharmacy Outreach Project to team up with pharmacists to provide additional advice and support to patients diagnosed with high blood pressure. In addition, CDC is announcing $4.2 million in funds to seven national networks of community-based organizations to support, disseminate and amplify the reach of the Community Transformation Grant program. Later this month, CDC will announce another $100 million in grants to communities across the country focused on reducing smoking, improving nutrition and promoting blood pressure control.