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    Green Spring Internal Medicine earns federal Million Hearts honors
    for success in controlling patients’ high blood pressure
    BALTIMORE – (Feb. 27, 2015) Green Spring Internal Medicine (GSIM) was one of 30 public and private health care practices and systems nationwide recognized this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts initiative as Million Hearts Champions for their success in helping patients control high blood pressure.
    “Controlling blood pressure prevents heart attacks and strokes – two of the leading causes of death in Maryland,” said Van T. Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). “We look forward to translating the key components of Green Spring’s success to all our Million Hearts partners in Maryland.”
    Nearly one in three American adults has hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.  Only half of those have it under control and those who do not are at risk of having heart disease or stroke, two of the leading causes of death and disability for Americans.  As a result, Million Hearts – a joint initiative of CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, along with other federal agencies and private sector partners – has prioritized improving blood pressure control nationwide.
    As part of Maryland’s Million Hearts efforts, GSIM is one of 52 practices that make up the Maryland Learning Collaborative (MLC), which receives funding from DHMH to provide clinical coaching to practices on ways to control hypertension and diabetes in their patients.
    To be a Million Hearts Champion, practices must provide continuing care to patients and have achieved control rates in more than 70 percent of patients diagnosed with hypertension. Since 2013, GSIM has a hypertension control rate of 81 percent, up from 48 percent in 2011.
    To be eligible for the award, GSIM shared verifiable high blood pressure control data and highlighted their successful strategies, including the use of health information technology and team-based care. GSIM achieved its high control rate using a variety of innovative approaches, including:
             Making high blood pressure control a priority;
             Using evidence-based guidelines and protocols;
             Designating hypertension champions within a practice or organization
             Using team-based care models to increase contact with patients;
             Consistently and strategically using electronic health records that include clinical decision-support tools, patients reminders and registry functionality; and
             Staying engaged with patients by offering free blood pressure checks, in-home nurse visits and medication checks by pharmacists.
    GSIM also was selected as a winner in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) Hypertension Control Challenge. The practice received the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Innovations for Improving Hypertension Challenge award for their innovative use of health information technology to improve patients’ cardiovascular health. The practice will receive an award of $5,000.
    Million Hearts is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  It coordinates efforts of communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke. For more information about Maryland’s Million Hearts efforts, visit http://goo.gl/e0Ineh.