; Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Launches Community-based Efforts to Support Million Hearts™ Initiative to Reduce Heart Attacks and Strokes
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Press Release

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Launches Community-based Efforts to Support Million Hearts™ Initiative to Reduce Heart Attacks and Strokes

The Blues® join HHS’ nationwide program to improve Americans’ heart health in local communities

April 1, 2013

CHICAGO – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) today announced it will use its nationwide data on heart health to assist the Department of Health and Human Service’s  Million HeartsTM initiative, which seeks to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. 

The Blues®’ role in Million Hearts™ extends the independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ long-term commitment to fighting cardiovascular disease through integrated disease prevention programs designed to help people live healthier lives. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies provide healthcare coverage in every ZIP code across the country and are uniquely positioned to identify pockets in every community where people are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, and to work at the local level to reduce these risks. Cardiovascular disease—including heart disease and stroke—is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 800,000 lives each year.

As part of its commitment, BCBSA will:

  • Use nationwide data to identify localities where residents exhibit a high incidence of high blood pressure – known as “Hypertensive Zones”
  • Facilitate communication and outreach to consumers in targeted Hypertensive Zones
  • Implement targeted approaches to support local programs across the country designed to inform people about heart disease and reduce heart attacks and stroke through prevention, as well as through value-based care delivery systems that emphasize coordinated care for those with chronic conditions
  • Share best practices collected from Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to assist HHS in its effort to educate consumers and improve outcomes for patients

“For more than 80 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have shown that the commitment to the communities they serve reaches beyond providing healthcare coverage to empowering and encouraging people to live healthier lives,” said Scott P. Serota, BCBSA president and CEO. “The Blues’ presence in every ZIP code and record of serving one in three Americans makes Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies vital partners in a community–based approach to helping prevent heart attacks and strokes. We are proud to join Million Hearts™ in this important initiative.”

 “We are pleased to welcome the national network of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to the Million HeartsTM community of public and private professionals dedicated to improving the heart health of all Americans,” said Dr. Janet Wright, executive director ofMillion Hearts™.  “When clinical practice and public health experts, insurers, communities and individuals all pull in the same direction, we can realize the full potential of the initiative: better heart health for the nation.”  

 Million Hearts™ seeks to prevent heart attacks and strokes by empowering Americans to make healthy choices, such as avoiding tobacco use and reducing sodium and trans fat consumption. It also seeks to improve care for those who need treatment by encouraging a focus on the “ABCS”- Aspirin as appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation.

 More information about the BCBSA commitment and the Million Hearts™ initiative can be found here.

About Million Hearts™
Million HeartsTM is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Million Hearts™ brings together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke.  For more information on the initiative, visit www.millionhearts.hhs.gov.

About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 100 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.