February is American Heart Month, a month to spread awareness about the importance of heart health. Each year, countless American families are impacted by heart disease and stroke. Although their risk factors can be prevented or controlled, they are still the leading cause of death for all Americans.
The Department of Health and Human Services is working with both public and private partners to raise awareness of heart disease through vital research investments and public health programs. The Million Hearts Initiative takes aim at this disease with a goal of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years. Other efforts, like the HeartTruth, which addresses women’s heart health, work to provide people with resources and ways to make heart-healthy changes in their everyday lives.
With the Affordable Care Act, new health plans must now cover recommended preventive services cost-free, including blood pressure screening for all adults and cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk.
Medicare consumers have access to free information that can help maintain heart health. Quality Insights of Delaware, the Quality Improvement Organization for Delaware, has formed a Cardiovascular Health Learning and Action Network, bringing together groups of quality-minded providers, physicians and stakeholders to focus on improving care delivery and outcomes. The Cardiovascular LAN also serves as a vital outreach mechanism for the Million Hearts Initiative in Delaware. To learn more about Quality Insights’ efforts to improve healthcare across the state, go to www.qide.org.
For more information on American Heart Month, go to http://millionhearts.hhs.gov.
The American Heart Association has information about the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke; go to http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/.