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San Diego County aims for the heart
August 4, 2014

shaking handsSan Diego County is about to take a big step forward in addressing the health of its citizens. Thanks to a nearly $6 million grant as part of the Affordable Care Act, the County has announced the Be There San Diego Initiative that includes a number of local healthcare organizations working together.

The goal? To make San Diego a heart attack and stroke-free zone.

A lofty, but important goal, to be sure. How will this be accomplished?

Over the course of the next three years, organizations such as the UC San Diego Health System along with Arch Health Partners, Scripps Health, Sharp HealthCare, Kaiser Permanente, Palomar Medical Center, Naval Medical Center, Veterans Administration, the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency in addition to other local clinics and physicians groups aim to enroll 4,000 high-risk patients into the project. These patients will participate in treatments, exercise and diet programs designed to lower their cholesterol and blood pressure.

Preventative medicine is the name of the game with this project.

Dr. Anthony DeMaria, one of the leaders of the project at UC San Diego HS, said in a recent press release, “This approach will decrease our community’s risk for cardiovascular disease and could result in saving millions in the county by preventing half of the heart attacks and strokes that would have otherwise occurred in the participating patient population.”

According to the release, enrollment in the program will begin later this year. Patients will meet with their regular physicians and be given blood pressure cuffs to help them monitor themselves at home. The hope is that better educated patients will avoid dangerous health conditions later, which will also save money in the healthcare system for both patients and providers.

Dr. DeMaria said, “Together, we can significantly decrease cardiovascular disease in our county, region and nation.”

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