HHS Seeks Nominations for 2015 Hypertension Control Challenge

August 19, 2015 03:26 pm News Staff
[Physician wearing stethoscope, holding red plastic heart]

HHS once again is calling for nominations for its Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge,(millionhearts.hhs.gov) which is intended to recognize clinicians, practices and health systems that have excelled in controlling hypertension among their patients.

HHS launched the Million Hearts initiative in 2011 with the goal of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017 through collaborations between communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies and private-sector partners nationwide. The CDC and CMS co-lead the initiative.

Perhaps not surprisingly, family physicians accounted for 60 percent of the 30 Hypertension Control Champions named last year.

The deadline to submit nominations(www.mhhypertensionchallenge.com) for the 2015 Challenge is Oct. 31. Names of the champions selected will be posted on the Million Hearts website in May 2016.

Story highlights
  • HHS is calling for nominations for its 2015 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge, part of the agency's Million Hearts initiative that seeks to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
  • The challenge is intended to identify and recognize clinicians, practices and health systems that have had success in controlling their patients' hypertension.
  • In 2014, family physicians accounted for 60 percent of the 30 Hypertension Control Champions selected.


All individual clinicians, practices and health systems providing health care services to patients in a state or territory of the United States are eligible to participate.

Nominees are required to be licensed clinicians and citizens or permanent residents of the United States who care for adult patients with hypertension. HHS recommends that large health systems (i.e., those that include multiple clinics and/or hospitals) consider submitting one or a few of their highest-performing clinics or regional affiliates as individual nominees rather than nominating the health system as a whole.

Also, accountable care organizations (ACOs) may apply in their entirety, or one or more practices in an ACO can apply independently.

Additionally, clinicians, practices and health systems must

  • treat all adult patients with hypertension in the practice who seek care, not a select subgroup of patients;
  • see an overall minimum of 500 adult patients each year;
  • achieve a hypertension control rate of at least 70 percent during the 12-month reporting period; and
  • have a data management system (electronic or paper) that allows for verification of data submitted.

Data Validation

Nominees will be scored based on their reported hypertension control rate (95 percent of score) and sustainable systems in the practice that support hypertension control (5 percent of score).

Nominees with the highest score will be required to participate in a two-phase validation process. Phase 1 includes an initial verification of the hypertension prevalence and blood pressure control rate data submitted in the nomination form. Phase 2, for nominees whose Phase 1 data is verified as accurate, consists of hypertension management validation via medical chart review.

Nominees must provide documents showing the criteria used to include patients as "controlled" and a list of all hypertensive patients with controlled blood pressure. Eight patients will be selected randomly for file review for compliance, along with 32 additional patients whose records may be requested for review if needed. All such data is to be submitted electronically through a secure FTP site using a secure login.

Selection Process

First-round finalists will be selected based on a composite score generated from the information on the nomination form and will participate in the data validation process.

Nominations will be scored and judged separately by size and type of nominee according to these categories:

  • Small individual providers or practices (500 to 49,999 patients)
  • Large providers or practices (50,000 or more patients)
  • Health systems

Finalists whose reported hypertension control rate is validated will move on to the final selection round.

The judging panel will consider hypertension prevalence, patient population served (considering populations less likely to achieve hypertension control) and geographic region served (considering high-need or high-burden areas).


As many as 35 Hypertension Control Champions will be formally recognized by CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., and will be featured on the Million Hearts and CDC websites, as well as in news releases announcing the champions. Documentation of the clinical systems and strategies the champions used to control hypertension also will be highlighted on the Million Hearts website. No cash prize will be awarded this year.

Related AAFP News Coverage
FPs Well Represented Among 2014 Hypertension Control Champions

Delaware AFP Wholeheartedly Supports State's Million Hearts Initiative
Public Awareness, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Are Top Goals