Last year, Family Practice of CentraState and several other CentraState physician practices were selected to participate in the Million Hearts® Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ five-year initiative to reduce heart attack and stroke risk. Since then, participating patients have reduced their risk of having a serious cardiac event by 7 percent.
Heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases account for one in every three deaths in the United States. With the overall goal of reducing the incidence of heart attack and stroke by 1 million lives in five years, the Million Hearts program assesses an individual’s risk for having a heart attack or stroke during the next 10 years.
Each Medicare patient’s risk factors—smoking habits, blood pressure, cholesterol, medications, age, gender, and race—are calculated to determine a risk score, called an atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) score. Patients who score above 30 percent are considered high risk and are guided on ways to reduce that risk.
Freehold Resident Sees Positive Results
One person benefiting from the initiative is 79-year-old Freehold resident Lee Moffitt. Referred to the program by board-certified family medicine physician Edward Stoner, MD, Lee’s ASCVD score of 32 percent revealed that he had an elevated risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the near future.
He then enrolled in CentraState’s Healthy Hearts program, which was designed by Family Practice of CentraState and CentraState’s Star and Barry Tobias Health Awareness Center to help Million Hearts patients reduce their cardiovascular disease risk. For the first two weeks of the program, he attended a series of 30-minute classes each week on topics ranging from nutrition and fitness to stress management. Then, he was paired with a health coach for one-on-one support for the next six weeks.
“The Million Hearts program, paired with CentraState resources, gets patients involved in their own health care,” explains Dr. Stoner. “It provides concrete data and tools to make changes.”
Lee, an avid photographer, received a free pedometer during a class about fitness. He loved tracking his steps so much that he upgraded to a web-enabled device that he could sync to his phone. He aims to get between 6,000 and 8,000 steps a day. He also works out at CentraState’s Fitness and Wellness Center most days, logging 20 minutes on the elliptical machine before using weight machines.
A year after starting the program, Lee has lost weight and his ASCVD score is now 24 percent—significantly out of the high-risk range.
“It’s very powerful when we’re able to explain a patient’s risk factors and then give them the tools to potentially change their future health status,” says Samantha Totaro-Quinn, LPN, patient care coordinator for Family Practice of CentraState.
“I didn’t realize I was at risk,” says Lee. “Participating in small classes and working with a coach helped me resolve to improve my health. I have more energy now, and I feel great.”