CDC and Million Hearts Recognize CMC/DHK as a 2013 Hypertension Control Champion

February 07, 2014
Keene, NH

Million Hearts 2013 Hypertension Control Challenge winners announced! Go to

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts® initiative recognized Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene (CMC/DHK) as one of nine Champions of the 2013 Hypertension Control Challenge for success in achieving exceptionally high rates of adequate blood pressure control.
Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Fewer than half of those have it under control and are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke, two of the leading causes of death and disability for Americans. Within Cheshire County, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of disability and death.

CMC/DHK was recognized for implementing a new blood pressure initiative and care delivery model which has improved blood pressure control (readings of less than 140/90) from 69% of patients in 2010 to over 84% of patients in 2013. An interdisciplinary team came together to create a coordinated approach for controlling high blood pressure across all primary care locations and specialty departments. New equipment and education protocols and a Hypertension Registry were developed, no-cost Nurse Clinic check-ups for high readings were scheduled, and new patient education materials were created for individuals and families to learn more about blood pressure, ask questions of their provider, and take ownership of their health. The team also worked with community partners such as Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services, the Keene YMCA, and area workplaces to build awareness and help refer those who need to be checked and avoid a health crisis.
"Receiving this recognition is an honor for our hypertension control project team and our entire organization. This award showcases our mission to lead our community to become the nation’s healthiest through our clinical and service excellence, collaboration, and compassion for every patient, every time. Through this work we’ve improved outcomes for our community and strengthened relationships with patients who feel empowered and engaged to make lifestyle changes to achieve better health.” shares Don Caruso, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, CMC/DHK.  Also, in the words of a patient, John A. who has achieved control of his hypertension, “I’m very grateful for the time they spent working with me to get my blood pressure under control and for the open communication which took place to give me direction and information.”

The 2013 Hypertension Control Champions, representing small and large, urban and rural, and private and federal health practices and systems achieved control rates ranging from 73 percent to more than 90 percent by using a variety of proven approaches. Following are some of these approaches:

  • Making high blood pressure control a priority at every visit;
  • Using evidence-based guidelines;
  • Working as a team—physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, care coordinators, and patients—to achieve blood pressure control;
  • Using health information technology to track blood pressure readings over time, cue team members to talk about blood pressure with patients, and adjust medications in a timely way to safely achieve control;  
  • Staying engaged with patients by offering free blood pressure checks, in-home nurse visits, and medication checks by pharmacists; and
  • Publicly recognizing or using financial incentives to reward high-performing clinicians or teams.

These practices have set up systems that work for patients and for providers. They use evidence-based guidelines and protocols, team-based care, electronic reminders to track patients’ progress, and recognize high-performing staff,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “By following their lead, we can help millions more Americans with high blood pressure get control. Controlling blood pressure saves lives and prevents disability from avoidable heart attacks and strokes.”

For more information about the 2013 Hypertension Control Challenge and the 2013 Champions, visit
Million Hearts is a national, public-private initiative that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. For more information about the initiative and to access resources, visit

About Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene
Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene is a nonprofit community hospital and clinic with a mission to lead our community to become the nation’s healthiest through our clinical and service excellence, collaboration, and compassion for every patient, every time. Founded by CMC/D-HK, Healthy Monadnock (formerly Vision 2020) is a community-wide health initiative designed to actively engage the citizens of Cheshire County in the process of becoming the nation's healthiest community by 2020. To learn more, call 603-354-5400.

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