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516 healthcare providers to participate in CMS heart attack, stroke initiative

One in three deaths are caused by heart attacks and strokes, resulting in over $300 billion in healthcare costs each year.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday said 516 healthcare practitioners will participate in the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model and will work to decrease cardiovascular disease risk by assessing an individual patient's risk for heart attack or stroke and applying prevention interventions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death and a major contributor to disability in the United States. One in three deaths are caused by heart attacks and strokes, resulting in over $300 billion in healthcare costs each year.

[Also: HCA to pay $2 million to settle whistleblower lawsuit over heart surgeries]

Currently, healthcare practitioners are paid to screen for blood pressure, cholesterol or other risk factors individually. In testing a new approach, practitioners participating in the intervention group will use a data-driven predictive modeling approach to generate personalized risk scores and develop specific plans in partnership with patients to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Overall, nearly 20,000 healthcare practitioners and over 3.3 million Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries will participate in the five-year model. Those in the intervention group will work with beneficiaries individually to identify the best approach or approaches to reducing their risk -- smoking cessation interventions, blood pressure management or cholesterol-lowering drugs or aspirin, to name a few -- and will explain the benefits of each approach.

Each beneficiary will receive a personalized risk modification plan that will target their specific risk factors. Organizations in the intervention group will be paid for reducing the absolute risk for heart disease or stroke among their high-risk beneficiaries.

The Affordable Care Act, through the creation of the CMS Innovation Center, allows for the testing of different payment and service delivery models, with the aim of moving the healthcare system toward one that spends dollars more wisely and delivers better care.

Twitter: @JELagasse