WOONSOCKET, R.I., July 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of an ongoing effort to help Americans reduce high blood pressure, MinuteClinic, the retail health care division of CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), is joining with the American Heart Association in a nationwide effort to improve the identification, treatment and management of high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, one in three American adults has high blood pressure, or hypertension. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney failure.
Through this collaboration in hypertension management, MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants will be trained in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines on the treatment and management of high blood pressure and will refer patients who are identified to have high blood pressure to their primary care physician and to educational resources to help them understand how they can manage their condition. MinuteClinic and the American Heart Association are accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as nursing accredited providers of educational programs and are committed to improving patient health.
"We are delighted to develop a high blood pressure continuing education course targeted specifically for nurse practitioners and physician assistants," said Suzanne Oparil, M.D., Program Chair/Physician Expert, AHA Education Program on Hypertension. "High blood pressure is a significant concern for a large portion of the adult population and much of it goes untreated. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants play a major role in managing hypertension in professional office settings, community settings and in convenient sites of care such as retail clinics. More and more health care is moving out into the community and this training will provide updated treatment guidelines, support the diverse educational needs of patients and assist with ongoing monitoring, which is critical for good blood pressure management."
MinuteClinic medical clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who provide treatment for common family illnesses and administer wellness and prevention services, including health condition monitoring and evaluation for hypertension.
Beginning in August, any MinuteClinic patient with elevated blood pressure will receive a wallet-sized card with a record of their blood pressure reading for that date and will be advised to return to MinuteClinic or their Primary Care Physician for a second reading within two weeks. The follow up visit helps to confirm whether the patient's blood pressure continues to be elevated, and whether a visit to a primary care provider is needed. It also provides the opportunity for education about high blood pressure and important lifestyle modifications that help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
"Knowing whether you have hypertension and how to properly manage this health condition is the first step in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke," said Paulette J. Thabault, ANP-BC, JD, CNPO, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer, MinuteClinic. "This evidenced-based program brings another dimension to our commitment to providing high quality preventive care for our patients."
MinuteClinic practitioners specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions, skin conditions and joint sprains are treated, and common vaccinations such as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia, pertussis and Hepatitis A & B are available at most locations. Walk-in camp, sports and college physicals for adolescents are available daily. In addition, MinuteClinic administers a series of wellness services designed to help consumers identify lifestyle changes needed to improve their current and future health, including screenings and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
MinuteClinic is the walk-in medical clinic inside CVS/pharmacy which is a division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States. MinuteClinic launched the first retail medical clinics in the United States in 2000 and is the largest provider of retail clinics with approximately 600 locations in 25 states and the District of Columbia. By creating a health care delivery model that responds to consumer demand, MinuteClinic makes access to high-quality medical treatment easier for more Americans. Nationally, the company has generated more than 12 million patient visits, with a 95% customer satisfaction rating. MinuteClinic is the first retail health care provider to receive accreditation (2006) and reaccreditation (2009) from The Joint Commission, the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, visit www.MinuteClinic.com.