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February 2013

Advancing Women's Heart Health

Entering National Heart Month, it is impossible to ignore that America is at a crossroads in health and healthcare. There is much speculation as to how the Affordable Care Act will affect the bottom line of every hospital and healthcare practitioner. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are being formed with the goal of providing quality care at lower cost through integration of services. Since reimbursement for care will now be tied to outcomes, the ACOs first priority is the establishment of an electronic medical record system to track outcomes. Those ACOs that have successfully implemented and transitioned to an electronic medical record system will clearly have an advantage over those who have not. Take a moment to listen to Thought Leader Anthony D. Slonim, MD, DRPH, Exec VP and Chief Medical Officer of Barnabas Health speak on the topic "What are ACOs and Why Should You Care?". Go to and look for the podcast section on the sliding bar at the top of the page, where you will find the interview of Dr. Slonim directly on the PharmaVoice homepage.

New "Medical Homes" are also being established in communities. This is a term that is used to describe patient-centered care, NOT an actual physical location. The definition of Medical Homes is subject to broad interpretation. The National Committee for Quality Improvement ( NCQI) defines it this way:
"The Patient Centered Medical Home is a health care setting that facilitates partnerships between individual patients, and their personal physicians, and when appropriate, the patientís family. Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to assure that patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner."

One successful Medical Home was recently featured in the Trenton Times. The Partnership Health Center, located in Toms River NJ, provides healthcare to 2,200 school employees and their families of Ocean County. The Center is managed by Integrity Health, a company owned by Douglas Forrester, a successful businessman and president of Integrity Health. His name may sound familiar with an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002, and governor in 2005. While caring for 2,200 employees of the Ocean County School District and their families, Mr. Forrester reports after three years of providing health services, the district has realized a $35 million savings. And reviews from the employees' unions are glowing.

Mr. Forrester attributes the success of the Partnership to the caring staff with a personal touch. "The conclusion I came to then is you can't have an effective wellness program if you can't look them in the eye and grab them by the shoulder and walk them across the hall. Robo-calls and payroll stuffers just don't work".

As a result of the Affordable Care Act. Over the next five years or so, we will be seeing some winners and some losers. A bumpy road lies ahead as no healthcare organization wants to be left behind. The Integrity Health Partnership Health Center has become a healthcare hub. It is now being accepted as a Medical Home model.

The Women's Heart Foundation will be lending time to the discussion and offering you tools to better manage your own health. The issue of women and heart disease remains central with the goals of early recognition of risk, early and accurate diagnosis when symptoms appear and early and appropriate intervention that results in the best outcome.

Take care of you heart.
Bonnie Arkus, RN,
Executive Director and Founder


Elizabeth Banks    Elizabeth Banks stars in and directs this video of a young busy mom having "just a little heart attack. View video. This was produced in association with the GoRED for Women Campaign

Jennifer Mieres MD   Jennifer Mieres, MD, cardiologist, is interviewed with women survivors on NBC Today Show. One in three of us has some form of heart disease. Signs, symptoms and prevention are discussed. Dr. Mieres says "Go to you doctor and talk to him about your risk for heart disease... Having a mother die young from heart disease is a powerful powerful risk factor". View video.

 Jane Lombard MD   Jane Lombard, MD , cardiologist, interviews patient Barbara on her heart disease at a seminar held at ElCamino Hospital in CA.

Heart patient Barbara discusses her heart disease experiences with severe weakness and tiredness. No shortness of breath, however, "I couldn't get satisfying breath, if that makes sense". The message for women with generalized symptoms, per Barbara: "Pay attention to your body. If you don't think your healthcare provider is paying attention to your symptoms, keep at it. If I didn't continue (to press for a diagnosis), I would be dead." View video


April 1-7 is Medication Safety Week- A free program with health management tools will be provided (to be posted in a special e-newsleter issue this month ).
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