HEARTS in the Americas Launches in South Carolina


Hearts in the AmericasThe Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME) and Southern Medical Association are launching HEARTS in the Americas in South Carolina, with a series of live virtual events beginning Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at 8:00 a.m. HEARTS, developed and launched by Pan America Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO), adopts best practices in the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Medical leaders from primary care practices, Federally Qualified Health Centers, specialty practices, and rural health clinics are encouraged to participate in HEARTS to prevent hypertension and improve blood pressure control in South Carolina.

The HEARTS model features six technical pillars, incorporates medication algorithms to quickly manage hypertension patients, and is designed to improve patients’ blood pressure rates. The June 1st event is an introduction to HEARTS and the HEARTS Technical Package, and will be presented by Donald J. DiPette, MD, FACP, FAHA, CCME Foundation Chair and Board member and Health Sciences Distinguished Professor for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. DiPette is a 2022 recipient of the World Hypertension League Detlev Ganten Excellence Award in Hypertension and Global Health Implementation. Dr. Pedro Ordunez, MD, PhD, PAHO Regional Advisor, Non-communicable Disease and Mental Health will co-present with Dr. DiPette.

“Medical providers will discover that the HEARTS model is flexible, not burdensome, and implementing the program within existing workflows yields beneficial results for their patients which will, in turn, impact CMS reimbursement,” said Karen Southard, RN, MHA, CPHQ, CCME Director of Quality Improvement Programs. CCME, a partner with Health Quality Innovators and part of the Health Quality Innovation Network (HQIN), will lead HEARTS in South Carolina and assist HQIN partners in implementing the model in their respective states.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, heart disease was the leading cause of death in South Carolina in 2019 and accounted for more than $4.5 billion in total hospitalization charges. Two in five African Americans and nearly two in five adults in South Carolina have high blood pressure. The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to increases in hypertension rates in the state, with prevalence of hypertension (61.96%) higher than the national average (57.2%).

“I encourage medical leaders to support HEARTS in South Carolina and join Dr. DiPette for his live virtual session on June 1st,” said CCME President and CEO Steven Martin, MHA, FACHE, CPHQ. “The alarming high rates of hypertension in South Carolina necessitates better strategic approaches based on global best practices, as modeled by HEARTS.”