AMA Statement on Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Control Hypertension

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Mega Doctor NEWS

Susan Bailey, MD

By Susan R. Bailey, MD, President, American Medical Association (AMA)     

“The American Medical Association (AMA) welcomes the Surgeon General’s new call to action today to prioritize hypertension control in the U.S. The report reinforces the need for physicians and other health professionals and their patients, as well as communities, to prioritize hypertension control. Optimizing patient care for hypertension is especially timely given the latest research showing previous progress made to improve blood pressure control is slipping away. In particular, we applaud the Surgeon General for urging sectors to create tailored strategies aimed at improving reach and equity – given disparities in blood pressure control remain persistent, with lower control rates in Black, Latinx, Asian, and Native American adults compared to White adults. We also know that cardiovascular disease places vulnerable populations at greater risk for adverse outcomes associated with COVID-19.  

“The AMA has been focused for nearly a decade on improving blood pressure control for all Americans. We agree with the Surgeon General that an important component of a national strategy is to support everyone with hypertension to take their blood pressure at home and review those readings with their care teams. In addition, we believe it is critically important to provide accurate and actionable data on blood pressure control to care teams and communities across the country. It is also vital for patients and health care professionals to understand which blood pressure measurement devices have been validated for accuracy, which is why we supported the launch of the first-ever US Blood Pressure Validated Device Listing (VDL™) earlier this year.

“Our top priority is to ensure physicians and all Americans, especially those in underrepresented and under-resourced communities, have access to quality health care and the support they need to control high blood pressure and reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease. We are hopeful that today’s report will lead to more organizations and individuals recognizing that high blood pressure is a major health threat that must be addressed – spurring them to take immediate action to help protect more Americans from its deadly impact.”

As part of our national Target: BP™ initiative with the American Heart Association (AHA), launched in 2016, AMA is keenly focused on getting health care organizations (HCOs) access to population dashboards that can be stratified by race and ethnicity. Through Target: BP, HCOs can also access AMA’s evidence-based AMA MAP BP™ quality improvement program, as well as the AMA and AHA’s co-developed e-learning course Achieving Accuracy: BP Measurement

Earlier this year, the AMA also teamed up with a small group of health organizations and ESSENCE to launch Release the Pressure, a national campaign aimed at improving heart health in Black communities.