Nationally, cardiovascular disease is the Number One killer of Americans, but not for Kaiser Permanente Northern California members, who have a 30 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than the general public.*
Now, and for the first time, Kaiser Permanente is making available its lifesaving Healthy Heart program information to all California physicians and the general public. Kaiser Permanente is also collaborating with public hospitals and community caregivers to bring its innovative cardiovascular care program to underserved populations, so that others may benefit from the program that has saved thousands of lives in the nation's largest integrated health care system.
California's Lieutenant Governor, the Honorable John Garamendi, who is a Kaiser Permanente member, will join Robert Pearl, MD, executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, Margaret O'Kane, president, National Committee on Quality Assurance, and other experts, to discuss this groundbreaking program at Kaiser Permanente Northern California's Oakland headquarters.
The press conference will be held April 26, from 11 AM - 12 noon at 1950 Franklin St., 2nd floor, Oakland. Reporters can also join by telephone by calling 1-866-847-7861 or by webcast http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=39340 .
INTERVIEWS AND PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES:
o Hon. John Garamendi, Lt. Governor, State of California
o Robert Pearl, MD, executive director and CEO, The Permanente Medical
o Ray Baxter, PhD, senior vice president, Community Benefit, Kaiser
Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals
o Margaret O'Kane, president, National Committee on Quality Assurance
o Lisa Pratt, MD, MPH, medical director, San Francisco Community Clinic
o David Shearn, MD, cardiologist, The Permanente Medical Group
o Views of the new Healthy Heart website -- http://www.kp.org/HealthyHeart --
launching for the first time on April 26.
Healthy Heart provides tools and guidelines to help assess the risk of cardiovascular disease, manage those risks, and ultimately reduce a patient's risks that can lead to death. Kaiser Permanente's "open source" approach to the general public and community caregivers will include:
o A new Healthy Heart public website, launching for the first time on April 26, features Kaiser Permanente's cardiovascular disease prevention tools and clinical content: http://www.kp.org/HealthyHeart
o Grants to community clinics and public hospitals to fund expanded cardiovascular intervention programs along the lines of those successful programs at Kaiser Permanente
o Consulting services and resources will be made available at no cost to community clinics, health centers and public hospitals across California. These will be especially important in rural areas, where
doctors may not have exposure to the kind of data and best practice information we can now share with them.
Kaiser Permanente's commitment is to the health of our members and the communities we serve. In 2006, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grantmaking to California's healthcare safety net totaled more than $10 million.
For more than a decade, Kaiser Permanente has successfully lowered its cardiovascular mortality rates by getting people on the appropriate medications, getting their measurable risk factors under control, and getting their lifestyles modified.
Proposals for health care reform across the nation cite prevention as a cornerstone. The Kaiser Permanente Healthy Heart program is an example and has the potential to serve as a model.
Dr. Pearl explains: "Our goal is to make lifesaving information available as broadly as possible, so we are sharing the tools and approaches we have found to be so successful in reducing the risk of our patients developing and dying from cardiovascular disease. We believe that by making this information more accessible, and sharing it online to all individuals and clinicians, we can have a tremendous impact on the lives of Californians and help prevent tens of thousands of deaths from cardiovascular disease over the next decade."
The estimated national cost of health care for cardiovascular disease in 2007 will be $431.8 billion, according to the American Heart Association's "Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2007 Update at a Glance." "The Healthy Heart program has the potential to lower these costs," explains Dr. Pearl.
"We are building on our long-standing partnerships with those in the community who represent the health care safety net," says Raymond Baxter, senior vice president, Community Benefit, Kaiser Foundation Health and Hospitals. "We want to help those who are caring for the most vulnerable members of our communities. We do this through financial support, sharing our knowledge and experience, and working jointly to improve quality care in the community, reduce disparities among under-served populations, and promote sound public policy."
In support of the Healthy Heart initiative, Donald Berwick, MD, president and CEO of the Institute for Health Improvement, stated, "Making health care better, piece by piece, is both an obligation and an opportunity. The extraordinary gains in cardiovascular care and the willingness of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California to make its tools and approaches broadly available offer hope and promise for all Americans." Dr. Berwick will not be able to attend the press conference but he will be available on April 26 after 3:30 PM PDT to talk to interested reporters.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente, founded in 1945, is a non-profit integrated health care organization, with physicians, nurses, and staff working in collaboration to provide high-quality care to its members and address the health care needs of its communities. The Northern California Region serves over 3.2 million members. It includes 6,000 physicians in The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG) and about 65,000 employees. The region has 19 major medical centers. http://www.kaiserpermanente.org
Thursday, April 26, 11 AM-12 noon
1950 Franklin, 2nd floor, Oakland
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* This finding, adjusted for age and gender, was reported in the National Committee for Quality Assurance's (NCQA) 2002 Annual Report - http://www.ncqa.org/Communications/Publications/2002Annual.pdf .