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CMS launches stroke/heart disease reduction program

July 21, 2016
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is enlisting nearly 20,000 U.S. care providers in an effort to make reducing heart disease and stroke a lot more personal.

The participating physicians will incorporate the Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model to gather patient assessment data that goes well beyond the usual blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The program uses predictive modeling to generate a person’s individualized risk score and helps physicians develop personalized treatments (or behavior change plans, such as smoking cessation) based on the risk factors.

The model is part of Million Hearts, a national initiative co-led by CMS and CDC to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. More than 3 million Medicare beneficiaries will participate in the assessment program over a five-year period.

“Our healthcare system historically often emphasized acute care over preventive care,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer, in a CMS release. “This initiative will enhance patient-centered care and give practitioners the resources to invest the time and in staff to address and manage patients who are at high risk for heart attacks and strokes.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 75 percent of strokes occur in people age 65 or older. Together, heart disease and stroke are the primary causes of disability and reduced mobility, especially among seniors.