Who Started The Million Hearts Initiative: Expert Tell You

Discover the origins, key players, vision, goals, and impact of the Million Hearts Initiative, a pioneering effort to promote cardiovascular health. [152 characters]

Understanding the Origins of the Million Hearts Initiative

The Million Hearts initiative was launched in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes within five years. The initiative aimed to improve the cardiovascular health of Americans and reduce the growing burden of cardiovascular diseases.The million hearts campaign was led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with a bold goal of preventing heart attacks and strokes through evidence-based strategies focusing on blood pressure control, tobacco cessation, and medication adherence.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

million hearts, heart attacks, red heart ornament on green textile
Photo by Dhaya Eddine Bentaleb / Unsplash

Key Players Behind the Million Hearts Initiative

The Million Hearts initiative was spearheaded by two leading government health agencies: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These agencies worked together to coordinate efforts at the national, state, and local levels to achieve the initiative’s goals.

The CDC , the nation’s leading public health institute, played a central role in implementing strategies to prevent heart disease and stroke. The CDC provided guidance, tools, and resources to healthcare providers, communities, and state health departments. This included promoting evidence-based clinical interventions, surveillance of cardiovascular health indicators, and support for public health programs and policies.

The CMS , which administers Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, sought to improve cardiovascular health through the programs it manages. CMS efforts focused on:

  • Improving hypertension control rates among Medicare beneficiaries through provider engagement and incentive programs
  • Strengthening medication adherence through Medicare Star Ratings and billing incentives
  • Expanding coverage of tobacco cessation interventions and counseling under Medicaid
  • Supporting community-based prevention programs through grants and funding opportunities

Other key players involved in the Million Hearts initiative include:

  • The Health Resources and Services Administration which provides funding and support to community health centers
  • The Food and Drug Administration which regulates tobacco products and requires labeling of nutrition information
  • Numerous nonprofit organizations, health systems, and private sector partners who implemented nationwide campaigns, programs and initiatives aligned with the initiative’s goals.
million hearts, public health, man in white chef suit standing beside man in blue dress shirt
Photo by CDC / Unsplash

The Vision and Goals of the Million Hearts Initiative

The overarching vision of the Million Hearts initiative was to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. This ambitious but achievable goal aimed to significantly improve cardiovascular health at the population level through a combination of clinical interventions and public health strategies.

The immediate goals centered on two main objectives:

  1. Reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease by 17% by the year 2020 by increasing access to effective preventative interventions and treatments.

  2. Improve health behaviors and risk factors among Americans by promoting healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco cessation programs. Specific targets included:

  3. Increasing the proportion of Americans with high blood pressure who have it controlled to at least 64% by 2017.

  4. Reducing the proportion of Americans who smoke cigarettes to 12.7% or lower by 2017.

The long-term vision extended beyond the program’s five-year timeline with an aim of building a more sustainable and equitable system of cardiovascular health in the U.S. This included:

  • Integrating prevention and treatment approaches across healthcare settings.

  • Developing public-private partnerships to promote innovation in community-based prevention programs.

  • Reducing disparities in cardiovascular outcomes by race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status.

By focusing national efforts around measurable goals, the Million Hearts initiative aimed to serve as a model for how data-driven, collaborative initiatives can significantly improve the health of populations and health systems across the country. The program’s emphasis on scalable, cost-effective prevention tactics also sought to bend the cost curve for cardiovascular healthcare expenditures in a sustainable manner.

million hearts, heart attacks, photography of black, white and red love text-printed board
Photo by Alex Block / Unsplash

The Implementation and Impact of the Million Hearts Initiative

Launched in 2012, the Million Hearts initiative has been working to achieve its goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes. The initiative focuses on implementing evidence-based strategies, policies and interventions aimed at improving cardiovascular health.

Some key tactics that the initiative has employed include:

  • Increasing blood pressure control through provider education, clinical decision support tools, and payment incentives under Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Promoting smoking cessation through insurance coverage of counseling and medications, community-based programs, and mass media campaigns.
  • Improving cholesterol management and medication adherence through the use of health information technology, patient education resources, and care management programs.
  • Partnering with healthcare systems, insurers, and community organizations to implement system-wide changes that make the “healthy choice the easy choice.”
  • Reducing sodium intake and increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables through policy strategies, changes to the food supply, and nutrition programs.

The Million Hearts initiative has already produced some positive results:

  • The proportion of Americans with controlled high blood pressure rose from 50.8% in 2008 to 64.4% in 2016.
  • Cigarette smoking prevalence among U.S. adults declined from 20.6% in 2008 to 15.5% in 2017.
  • Death rates from heart disease and stroke fell by 21% and 23% respectively from 2008 to 2017.

However, the initiative has still fallen short of its goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. There is still much work to be done to fully achieve Million Hearts’ vision of a healthier cardiovascular system in the U.S. Continued progress will require innovative new strategies, increased coordination and collaboration across sectors, and a focus on population health and health equity.

Through a combination of government leadership, multi-stakeholder engagement and data-driven implementation, the Million Hearts initiative has helped to reverse trends in heart disease and stroke mortality. With sustained investments and efforts, it has the potential to help transform cardiovascular health for many millions of Americans in the years ahead.

million hearts, heart attacks, two person holding papercut heart
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

More Helpful Guide

Frequently Asked Question

How is Million Hearts funded?

Million Hearts is funded through Congressional appropriations and contributions from CDC, CMS, and partner organizations.

How does Million Hearts work to improve care for underserved populations?

Million Hearts aims to improve care for underserved populations by addressing social determinants, implementing culturally appropriate programs, and promoting team-based care.

What lifestyle changes does Million Hearts recommend to improve cardiovascular health?

Million Hearts recommends quitting smoking, being physically active, eating healthy, and maintaining a healthy weight to improve cardiovascular health.

How does Million Hearts aim to reduce sodium consumption?

Million Hearts aims to reduce sodium consumption by working with food manufacturers, restaurants, government feeding programs, and the public.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top