DALLAS, October 15 — The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) are recognizing nearly 1,200 physician practices and health systems for taking bold steps to help millions of people lower their blood pressure.

As part of the organizations’ annual Target: BP Recognition Program, the AHA and AMA this year recognizes 1,183 practices nationwide for their commitment to helping improve blood pressure control rates among the patient populations they serve. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The health care organizations recognized range from single clinics to large health care delivery systems across 46 states and U.S. territories, representing more than 29.8 million adult patients—of which more than 8 million have hypertension.

Target: BP is a national collaboration between the AHA and the AMA, aimed at tackling the growing burden of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. by targeting high blood pressure – which affects nearly half of U.S. adults. The initiative is helping health care organizations improve blood pressure control rates through use of the AMA’s evidence-based MAP BP quality improvement program. MAP stands for Measure accurately, Act rapidly, and Partner with patients, families and communities. The American Heart Association is working in communities to encourage healthcare practices to join the Target: BP program and adopt AMA’s MAP standards.

“The American Heart Association and the American Medical Association share a common mission and commitment to reducing the number of Americans who have heart attacks and strokes each year, and we are proud of the physicians and health care organizations who have already stepped up to join us in this effort,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “We will continue to urge more physician practices, health systems and patients to prioritize the rising risk of high blood pressure and improve health outcomes for patients across the nation.”

Health care organizations that reach a blood pressure control rate of 70% or above for the hypertensive populations they serve are awarded Gold Status, the highest level of achievement of the Target BP Recognition Program. In 2019, nearly half of the participants reached Gold Status, achieving an average blood pressure control rate of 78%.

The Target: BP Recognition Program, which launched in 2015, has continued to grow each year, attracting 538 new medical practice and health system submissions in 2019, a 48% jump from 2018. More than half of these first-time submitters achieved Gold Status. Additionally, more than half of the health care organizations submitting data for the previous two years have seen improvement in their blood pressure control rates, including Family Christian Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center in an underserved community in Harvey, Illinois. The practice has seen a 6%  rise in blood pressure control rates during the first nine months of adopting the MAP BP program.

Lester Hockenberry, M.D., medical director at the center, stated, “The American Medical Association MAP BP Program used in Target: BP is comprehensive, starting with the foundation of accurate blood pressure measurement and building through strategies to overcome clinical inertia and ultimately engaging patients. It allows for efficient, effective and equitable patient-centered care.”

There are 116 million U.S. adults living with high blood pressure. Less than half of those people have their blood pressure under control. Through Target: BP, health care providers have access to tools and resources to help patients to control their blood pressure.

“Collaboration is key to managing high blood pressure,” said Heart Association President Robert Harrington, M.D., FAHA, and chairman of the department of medicine at Stanford University. “When doctors, clinics, patients and organizations like the American Heart Association and American Medical Association are all working toward the same goal, we have the opportunity for great success. We are pleased to be a part of the success of so many practices—and so many patients—in reducing high blood pressure and improving health.”

The impact of the Target: BP and MAP BP Program is being felt throughout the U.S. and its territories. In fact, Costa Salud Community Health Centers in Puerto Rico have seen blood pressure control rates rise in all three years it has participated.

“The program has been an important tool,” said Cinthia Tirado, a certified health education specialist at Costa Salud Community Health Centers. “Thanks to the follow-up of our health providers and patient education, we have achieved more than 70% in blood pressure control. Having educational material from reliable sources and adapted to the population we serve is key to our patients understanding hypertension management.”

More information about Target: BP and a full list of this year’s recognized participants can be found at TargetBP.org.

About the AHA

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the AMA

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises, and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care. For more information, visit ama-assn.org.

Media Contacts:

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

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