Valley Health Systems Inc. recognized by AHA

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Valley Health Systems, Inc. is among a select group of West Virginia healthcare organizations that recently were recognized by the American Heart Association for meeting a high standard of blood pressure control among their adult patients.

The recognition program, called “Target: BP,” developed in a partnership between the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association, was launched in response to the rising incidence of uncontrolled blood pressure in the United States – a health issue that is particularly prevalent in West Virginia.

A growing body of evidence shows high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, as a contributing factor in many serious health conditions like heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other disease consequences. The Target: BP initiative aims to reduce the number of Americans who have heart attacks and strokes by urging medical practices, health service organizations and patients to prioritize blood pressure control.

Healthcare organizations participating in the Target: BP initiative focus on proper blood pressure control in adult patients and monitor improvements over time. The AHA Target: BP program partners with organizations throughout the year to support blood pressure management strategies and to measure and maintain successes. Participating agencies are recognized with Gold Awards when the targeted patient population averages 70 percent or greater blood pressure control.

Valley Health Systems not only received participant certificates for being part of the 2018 Target: BP campaign, five of its health centers achieved Gold Awards. Those Valley Health sites included Harts, Huntington High, Hurricane, Prestera and Coal Grove.

Mathew Weimer, M.D., Valley Health Vice President of Health Services and Chief Medical Officer, said, “Valley Health is pleased that five of our health centers were recognized with Gold Awards. As a system, it is an ongoing goal of our provider and chronic care management teams to manage, control and improve patient blood pressure levels among patients experiencing hypertension. At Valley Health, patient education has been an important part of this effort. It’s been very encouraging to see how many patients have benefited from this evidence-based model.”

High blood pressure is when the force of blood flowing through the blood vessels is consistently too high. It is known as “the silent killer” because it has few symptoms, and many do not know they have the condition. A simple test by a clinician with a pressure cuff and stethoscope, or with an automatic blood pressure monitor, helps determine if a patient has high blood pressure. The condition can be treated with lifestyle changes and prescription medication at the direction of a primary care provider.

A grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation enabled the American Heart Association in 2018 to bring its Target: BP program to West Virginia for the first time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia leads the nation in rates of hypertension, at 43.5 percent.

Valley Health officers accept the organization’s Target: BP Awards. Pictured, from left to right, are Kim Tieman – Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation Program Director; Dr. Mathew Weimer – Valley Health Vice President of Health Services and Chief Medical Officer; Brett Wellman, FNP – Valley Health Chief Quality Officer and Associate Operations Officer; and Johnna Beane, RN – American Heart Association Health Strategies Coordinator.


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