River Falls, WI — Ellsworth Medical Clinic was selected to receive 2012 Hypertension Control Champion by the Million Hearts™ initiative, a public-private effort by the Department of Health and Human Services to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Since 2007, Ellsworth Medical Clinic’s focus on managing hypertension has resulted in an improvement from 73 percent to its current control rate of 97 percent and is one of only two clinics nation-wide to be awarded his honor.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, significantly increases the risk for heart disease or stroke. Nationally, hypertension control rates hover around 50 percent.

The Hypertension Control Champion award recognizes health care organizations that incorporate patient-centered tactics to control high blood pressure.

This is the first year this award has been distributed and its announcement follows the recent release of new data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on the prevalence of hypertension in the U.S.

Ellsworth Medical Clinic is one of just two health care providers in the country to be recognized as a Hypertension Control Champion, but our three clinics (River Falls, Ellsworth and Spring Valley Medical Clinics) are leading the way in healthcare quality outcomes.

In the October 2012 Consumer Reports, Ellsworth Medical Clinic ranked number one in the western Wisconsin clinics when looking at optimal care for both diabetes and vascular disease. Spring Valley Medical Clinic ranked number three; and River Falls Medical Clinic ranked number five.

Dr. Janet Wright, Executive Director of Million Hearts™, traveled to River Falls, Wisconsin to present the a Million Hearts™ award to the Ellsworth Medical Clinic team for their work in implementing a patient-centered team approach to delivering care.

Christopher Tashjian, M.D., a physician at the Ellsworth Medical Clinic and President of the group, says improvement in the practice came when the entire staff — including other caregivers and administrative staff, not just doctors—were involved in quality-improvement initiatives.

“We realized disease management is a team sport. We provide measurably better care when we include the diabetes educator and care coordinator,” he says. The staff at the Ellsworth clinic saw another big improvement after the clinic started using electronic medical records, which enabled the staff to more carefully track their patients. “We are a small practice,” Tashjian says. Our feeling is that if we can do it with the limited resources, anyone can.”

About The River Falls, Ellsworth & Spring Valley Medical Clinics

Services at The River Falls, Ellsworth and Spring Valley Medical Clinics include: Family Medicine to treat the majority of health concerns for all ages including uncomplicated obstetrical care; Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; Psychiatry; OB/GYN; General Surgery; as well as visiting specialists in cardiology, neurology, neurosurgery, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), oncology/hematology, orthopedics, plastic surgery, podiatry and urology.  Our medical staff also includes Physicians Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and Certified Diabetes Educators.

About the Million Hearts Initiative

The national Million Hearts™ initiative, co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—and in collaboration with many other government and private partners— aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  To achieve this goal, 10 million more Americans must have their blood pressure under control. Million Hearts™ is working to reach this goal through clinical and community approaches.