DALLAS, October 17, 2018 —  The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) today recognized 802 physician practices and health systems from across the country for their commitment to reducing the number of Americans who have heart attacks and strokes each year. As part of the annual Target: BP Recognition Program, run jointly by the two associations since 2017, these practices are being recognized for their commitment to helping more patients improve blood pressure control.

More than 8.7 million people with high blood pressure are represented by this year’s 802 program participants. The highest level of achievement in the program is to reach a control rate of 70 percent or more, signifying Gold status. According to this year’s Target: BP data, nearly half of Target: BP Recognition Program participants reached Gold status—with these health care organizations achieving on average 77 percent of their hypertensive patients’ blood pressure controlled. Data for the program is based on high blood pressure control being defined as less than 140/90 mmHg. Recognition is based on the previous year’s data, before hypertension was redefined.

“The Target: BP program helped us to standardize our procedure for blood pressure determination across the clinic as a whole, thus leading to improved patient outcomes and quality of care delivery,” said Thomas Mihelich, M.D., chief quality officer at Utica Park Clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of 340 clinics receiving Gold level recognition this year.

Of the 103 million people in the U.S. with high blood pressure, less than half of them have it controlled to a healthy level. Through the Target: BP program, healthcare providers have access to tools and resources to not only help them remain mindful of blood pressure management but help more of their patients become involved with their care and health goals in order to get their blood pressure under control.

“A driving force behind Target: BP’s goal of improving cardiovascular health is the physician and patient partnership,” said AHA President Ivor Benjamin, M.D., FAHA. “No single risk factor has more impact on the nation’s death rates from cardiovascular disease than high blood pressure. We are pleased to see more and more practices prioritize blood pressure control and collaborate with their patients to achieve the program’s goal of reducing heart disease and strokes in their communities.”

Experts agree that high blood pressure can often be managed effectively when patients work with their physician to create and follow a treatment plan.

“Although we have the tools to effectively treat high blood pressure, many patients face a variety of barriers making it difficult to successfully manage the condition. Target: BP is meant to facilitate ways around those barriers,” said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. “We applaud the physicians who are already working hard to control their patients’ blood pressure. And, because we know that improving control rates by just a few percentage points can lead to tens of thousands of additional hypertensive patients with controlled blood pressure, we will continue to urge more physician practices, health systems and patients to join this effort to prioritize blood pressure control. By increasing the national blood pressure control rate, we will be able to save many more lives and improve health outcomes for patients throughout the nation.”

More than 1,650 physician practices and health systems nationwide have joined Target: BP™ since 2015, sharing a common goal to reduce the number of adult patients with uncontrolled blood pressure and improve health outcomes associated with heart disease. Launched in 2017, the Target: BP Recognition Program is an extension of Target: BP™. More information about Target: BP and a full list of this year’s recognized participants can be found at TargetBP.org.


Media Contacts:

Maggie Francis, American Heart Association: maggie.francis@heart.org    

Kelly Jakubek: American Medical Association: kelly.jakubek@ama-assn.org