Title: Million Hearts Model Shows Promising Results in Reducing Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among Medicare Beneficiaries
Byline: McCreary County Record Health Reporter
The Million Hearts Model, a groundbreaking program aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, has shown promising results in a recent cluster-randomized trial. The trial, conducted from 2017 to 2021, included over 500 primary care and specialty practices, health centers, and hospital-based outpatient clinics across the United States.
Medicare beneficiaries aged 40 to 79 years with no prior history of heart attacks or strokes and displaying high or medium CVD risk were included in the study. Organizations in the intervention group were incentivized to provide guideline-concordant care, which included regular CVD risk assessments and follow-up care for high-risk patients.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) offered financial incentives to organizations for calculating CVD risk scores for Medicare beneficiaries. Furthermore, additional rewards were given to organizations that successfully reduced the risk among high-risk beneficiaries.
The main outcomes of the study were the prevention of first-time CVD events, such as heart attacks, strokes, and transient ischemic attacks. These outcomes were identified using Medicare claims. Additionally, combined first-time CVD events and CVD deaths were determined using the National Death Index. The study also assessed Medicare spending for CVD events and overall costs.
Excitingly, the findings of the trial revealed a significant reduction in the probability of first-time CVD events over a span of five years, specifically a 0.3 percentage points reduction among high or medium-risk beneficiaries. In addition, there was a 0.4 percentage point decrease in combined first-time CVD events and CVD deaths.
While the trial did not show statistically significant changes in Medicare spending for CVD events or overall, the results support the use of risk scores for primary prevention of CVD. These findings underscore the importance of cardiovascular risk assessment and follow-up care in reducing the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes.
The success of the Million Hearts Model demonstrates the potential of incentivizing health care organizations to prioritize CVD risk reduction. It provides compelling evidence for the effectiveness of guideline-concordant care and its positive impact on patient outcomes. These significant results will inform future efforts to prevent CVD and improve cardiovascular health among Medicare beneficiaries.
As the Million Hearts Model paves the way for innovative approaches in combating CVD, it is expected that similar programs may be implemented to target other prevalent health conditions. Through continued efforts and collaborations, healthcare organizations have the power to make a profound impact on patients’ lives and improve population health outcomes.
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