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Palo Alto Medical Foundation Newsroom


PAMF to Participate in National Initiative to Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes

cmsThe Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) has been selected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as one of 516 awardees to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes among millions of Medicare fee-for-service patients. PAMF and other health care organizations participating in the Million Hearts® Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model will work to decrease cardiovascular disease risk by assessing an individual patient’s risk for heart attack or stroke and applying prevention interventions.

“It’s an honor to be selected to participate in this important national initiative to help prevent heart disease,” says Ed Yu, M.D., medical director of Quality who will be leading this initiative at PAMF. “It ties in perfectly with our already very strong focus on preventive care for our patients. It’s also a welcome and exciting move away from a payment structure based on volume rather than outcomes.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death and a major contributor to disability in the United States. One in three deaths is caused by heart attacks and strokes, resulting in over $300 billion of health care costs each year.

Currently, health care organizations and physicians are paid to screen for blood pressure, cholesterol, or other risk factors individually. In testing a new approach, organizations participating in the Million Hearts® Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model’s intervention group will use a data-driven, widely accepted predictive modeling approach to generate personalized risk scores and develop specific plans in partnership with patients to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Accepted applicants were randomly assigned to either the intervention or control group in accordance with the model’s randomized control design.

Overall, nearly 20,000 health care providers and over 3.3 million Medicare fee-for-service patients will participate in the five-year model. PAMF is participating in the intervention group and will work with Medicare fee-for-service patients to determine their ten-year individual risk for a heart attack or stroke.

PAMF will then work with patients individually to identify the best approach or approaches to reducing their risk of having a heart attack or stroke – for example, smoking cessation interventions, blood pressure management, or cholesterol-lowering drugs or aspirin – and will explain the benefits of each approach. Each patient will receive a personalized risk modification plan that will target their specific risk factors. PAMF will be paid for reducing the absolute risk for heart disease or stroke among their high-risk patients.

“Our health care system historically often emphasized acute care over preventive care,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer. “This initiative will enhance patient-centered care and give practitioners the resources to invest the time and staff to address and manage patients who are at high risk for heart attacks and strokes.”

Learn more about the Million Hearts® initiative.

For additional information about the Million Hearts® Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Model, including a fact sheet and a list of participants, please visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website.