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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic has teamed up with the American Heart Association in a nationwide effort to improve the identification, treatment and management of high blood pressure.
According to the American Heart Association, 1-out-of-3 American adults has high blood pressure or hypertension. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney failure.
Through this collaboration in hypertension management, MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants will be trained in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines on the treatment and management of high blood pressure and will refer patients who are identified to have high blood pressure to their primary care physician and to educational resources to help them understand how they can manage their condition.
MinuteClinic and the American Heart Association are accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as nursing accredited providers of educational programs and are committed to improving patient health.
"We are delighted to develop a high blood pressure continuing education course targeted specifically for nurse practitioners and physician assistants," stated Suzanne Oparil, program chair/physician expert for the AHA Education Program on Hypertension. "High blood pressure is a significant concern for a large portion of the adult population and much of it goes untreated. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants play a major role in managing hypertension in professional office settings, community settings and in convenient sites of care such as retail clinics. More and more health care is moving out into the community and this training will provide updated treatment guidelines, support the diverse educational needs of patients and assist with ongoing monitoring, which is critical for good blood-pressure management."
Beginning in August, any MinuteClinic patient with elevated blood pressure will receive a wallet-sized card with a record of their blood pressure reading for that date and will be advised to return to MinuteClinic or their primary care physician for a second reading within two weeks. The follow-up visit helps to confirm whether the patient's blood pressure continues to be elevated, and whether a visit to a primary care provider is needed. It also provides the opportunity for education about high blood pressure and important lifestyle modifications that help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
"Knowing whether you have hypertension and how to properly manage this health condition is the first step in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke," added Paulette Thabault, chief nurse practitioner officer at MinuteClinic. "This evidenced-based program brings another dimension to our commitment to providing high quality preventive care for our patients."