HHS Awards Aim to Help Primary Care Practices Promote Heart Health

May 29, 2015 04:35 pm News Staff
[Female doctor taking elderly woman's blood pressure in exam room]

HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) continues its mission to improve health care delivery in the United States through evidence-based research by launching its EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care(www.ahrq.gov) grant initiative, which aims to empower small primary care practices to improve the heart health of nearly 8 million patients.

On May 26, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced an award of $112 million to establish seven regional cooperatives composed of multidisciplinary teams of experts that will provide quality improvement services. Those services will include on-site coaching, consultation on health care delivery improvement, sharing best practices and electronic health records support for as many as 300 small primary care practices in 12 states.

Story highlights
  • HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has launched its EvidenceNOW grant initiative with $112 million in awards to empower small primary care practices to improve the heart health of nearly 8 million patients.
  • Seven regional cooperatives will provide quality improvement services for as many as 300 small primary care practices in 12 states.
  • Each of the cooperatives will conduct an internal evaluation, and an eighth grant awardee -- Oregon Health & Science University -- will conduct an independent external evaluation of the overall EvidenceNOW initiative.

According to an HHS news release,(www.hhs.gov) the initiative will help small primary care practices in urban and rural settings incorporate the most recent evidence on how best to deliver the so-called ABCS of cardiovascular prevention into their patients' care:

• Aspirin use by high-risk individuals,
• Blood pressure control,
• Cholesterol management and
• Smoking cessation.

"By targeting smaller practices, we have a unique opportunity to reduce cardiovascular risk factors for hundreds of thousands of patients and learn what kind of support results in better patient outcomes," Burwell said in the news release.

The program will reach Native Americans in Oklahoma; Hispanics in Colorado and New Mexico; medically underserved communities in New York City and the Chicago Tri-State region; and rural communities in North Carolina, the Pacific Northwest and Virginia, according to the website. It's estimated the initiative will work with more than 5,000 primary care health professionals in total.

EvidenceNOW
Cooperatives

The seven cooperatives selected to participate in HHS' EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care initiative, the principal investigators (including three family physicians) and the regions they serve are listed below.

  • Midwest Cooperative
    Principal Investigator: Abel Kho, M.D.
    Serving: Tri-State Chicago area of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin
  • New York City Cooperative
    Principal Investigator: Donna Shelley, M.D.
    Serving: New York City
  • North Carolina Cooperative
    Principal Investigator: Samuel Cykert, M.D.
    Serving: North Carolina
  • Northwest Cooperative
    Principal Investigator: AAFP member Michael Parchman, M.D.
    Serving: Idaho, Oregon and Washington
  • Oklahoma Cooperative
    Principal Investigator: Daniel Duffy, M.D.
    Serving: Oklahoma
  • Southwest Cooperative
    Principal Investigator: AAFP member W. Perry Dickinson, M.D.
    Serving: Colorado and New Mexico
  • Virginia Cooperative
    Principal Investigator: AAFP member Anton Kuzel, M.D.
    Serving: Virginia

Each of the seven cooperatives will conduct an internal evaluation, and an eighth grant awardee -- Oregon Health & Science University -- will conduct an independent external evaluation of the overall EvidenceNOW initiative. The evaluation team will study the impact of the EvidenceNOW interventions on practice improvement and the delivery of cardiovascular care and also will examine which practice supports and quality improvement strategies are most effective in enhancing implementation of new evidence.

The seven implementation grants will run for three years, and the evaluation grant will run for four years.

The EvidenceNOW initiative aligns with HHS' Better Care, Smarter Spending and Healthier People: Improving our Health Care Delivery System(www.cms.gov) effort and its Million Hearts(millionhearts.hhs.gov) initiative, which is intended to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

The EvidenceNOW grants represent one of AHRQ's largest research investments to date, with funding coming from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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