Million Hearts Recognizes 2014 Hypertension Control Champions

Million Hearts Recognizes 2014 Hypertension Control Champions
CDC recognizes Hypertention Control Champions. Photo source CDC

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a press release from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Million Hearts initiative recognized 30 public and private health care practices and systems across the country as Hypertension Control Champions for their success in helping patients control high blood pressure.

The 2014 Hypertension Control Champions include private and tribal clinical practices and health services, ranging from solo practitioners to large systems and representing both urban and rural areas. Together they care for more than 3.5 million adult patients in 19 different states. Each Champion was able to achieve hypertension control rates of 70 percent or more.

"This year we have more Champions than ever before, demonstrating that high performance is achievable and that we are on a path to better heart health across the nation," said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. "More and more practices are using evidence-based strategies to help patients keep blood pressure down—a strong sign that we're making progress in preventing heart attacks and strokes."

Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Only half have it under control, putting them at greater risk of developing heart disease or stroke—two of the leading causes of death in the U.S.

"Million Hearts launched this challenge in 2012 to recognize clinicians and health care teams across the country for helping their patients protect heart health," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "We implore other health systems to follow the lead of these physicians and clinics which are succeeding in saving lives and preventing disability from avoidable heart disease and stroke."

The 2014 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions are:

Arsalan Shirwany, MD, FACC, Stern Cardiovascular Foundation, Germantown, Tennessee

The Baton Rouge Clinic, AMC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Brett Gray, MD, Cherokee Nation Health Services, Salina, Oklahoma

Colorado Springs Health Partners, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Daniel Otten, MD, FACC, Stern Cardiovascular Foundation, Germantown, Tennessee

Denver Health Community Health Services, Denver, Colorado

East Jordan Family Health Center, East Jordan, Michigan

Esse Health, St. Louis, Missouri

Essentia Health, Duluth, Minnesota

Family Health Centers of San Diego, San Diego, California

Green Spring Internal Medicine, LLC, Lutherville, Maryland

Holger Salazar, MD, FACC, Stern Cardiovascular Foundation, Germantown, Tennessee

Jennifer Morrow, MD, FACC, Stern Cardiovascular Foundation, Germantown, Tennessee

Kaiser Permanente, Southern California, California

Kelsey-Seybold Clinic—Cypress, Houston, Texas

Kelsey-Seybold Clinic—Pasadena, Pasadena, Texas

Lexington Family Practice, Lexington, South Carolina

Mark Backus, MD, FACP, Bend, Oregon

Methodist Primary Care Group, Memphis, Tennessee

Michael Rakotz, MD, FAAFP, Northwestern Medical Group, Evanston, Illinois

P.S. Rudie Medical Clinic, Duluth, Minnesota

Peninsula Community Health Services, Bremerton, Washington

Premier Medical Associates, Monroeville, Pennsylvania

Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Albuquerque, New Mexico

PriMed Physicians, Dayton, Ohio

Reginald Parker, MD, Northlake Family Medical Practice, Columbia, South Carolina

Roane County Family Health Care, Spencer, West Virginia

Southwest Montana Community Health Center, Butte, Montana

Upper Valley Family Care, Troy and Piqua, Ohio

WinMed Health Services, Cincinnati, Ohio

To be eligible, entrants shared verifiable high blood pressure control data and highlighted successful strategies or best practices adopted by the practice or system, such as the use of health information technology or team-based care. All Champions achieved control rates ranging from 70 percent to more than 90 percent of adult patients by using a variety of innovative approaches, including:

  • Making high blood pressure control a priority
  • Using evidence-based guidelines and protocols
  • Designating hypertension champions within a practice or organization
  • Using team-based care models to increase contact with patients
  • Implementing consistent, strategic use of electronic health records that include clinical decision support tools, patient reminders, and registry functionality
  • Staying engaged with patients by offering free blood pressure checks, in-home nurse visits, and medication checks by pharmacists
  • Using public recognition or financial incentives when possible to recognize high-performing clinicians or teams

"We are excited to host this challenge for the third year and showcase more winners than ever before," said Dr. Janet Wright, a board-certified cardiologist and executive director of Million Hearts. "Like the practices and clinicians recognized in previous years, these 2014 Champions are finding innovative, evidence-based ways to detect hypertension, connect patients with appropriate clinical care, and make blood pressure control their goal to save lives from heart attack and stroke."

For more information about the Hypertension Control Challenge and the 2014 Champions, please visit

CDC co-leads the Million Hearts initiative with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CDC developed the Hypertension Control Challenge as part of its longstanding efforts to identify prevention strategies that help patients achieve blood pressure control. Million Hearts 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 about the initiative and to access resources, visit