Healthy Hearts 

Well-Ahead Partners in improving the process for high blood pressure  

The Office of Public Health’s Center for Community and Preventive Health conducts a variety of programs and services designed to improve public health measures in Louisiana. Many of these programs operate within the network of Parish Health Units (PHU) located across the state. Programs such as Reproductive Health and Tuberculosis that operate within the PHUs provide critical services to adults across the state. This partnership between Well-Ahead and the PHUs helps to identify individuals at risk for hypertension that may not be aware they have high blood pressure. There are many lifestyle changes that can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, making it very important to help identify at-risk individuals and help them take control of their health.

Well-Ahead helped develop a new protocol for screening and referring individuals for high blood pressure ensures that every patient seen during one of these visits, receives the same optimal care. PHUs do not diagnose or treat for hypertension, so our partnerships with primary care sites is critical to the success of this work. OPH has partnered closely with these health centers, and the Louisiana Primary Care Association, to coordinate and improve the process for referrals. As we continue this work, the goal is to make this process as seamless as possible for the individual, to help them receive the care they need.


  • Of the 75 million Americans who have hypertension, almost half do not have the condition under control 
  • About 11 million Americans don't know their blood pressure is too high 
  • When left untreated, the damage that high blood pressure does to your circulatory system is a significant contributing factor to heart attack, stroke, and other health threats 


If you are a primary health care facility that receives referrals from a Parish Health Unit and would like more information on this project, please contact  

Oldies but Goodies

Pharmacist Provided Medication Therapy Management

Medication is a critical tool in the management of hypertension, as well as other chronic diseases such as diabetes. Pharmacists can play an important role in counseling a patient to ensure that they adhere to their prescribed medication. This has been shown to lead to improved health outcomes, as well as reduced costs. 

Medication therapy management is a spectrum of patient-centered, pharmacist-provided, collaborative services that focus on medication appropriateness, effectiveness, safety, and adherence with the goal of improving health outcomes. It includes a face-to-face interaction between the pharmacist and the patient, with an opportunity to discuss the patient’s needs, conduct medication reconciliation, and create a plan to resolve any medication-related problems. Patients are also assisted in creating a Medication-Related Action Plan (MAP) that contains a list of actions for patients to use in tracking progress for self-management. 

For pharmacists or healthcare providers interested in learning more about medication therapy management, there are several resources available! Our recent Provider Education Network focuses on medication therapy management.  Our guest speaker, Dr. Kisha Gant, offers advice on how to launch and sustain a medication therapy management program.  Check it out here.  In addition, the American Pharmacists Association created a Marketing Toolkit that helps pharmacists market their medication therapy services to potential collaborators - physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and others. The American Medical Association created a module, Embedding Pharmacists Into the Practice, that helps  healthcare providers collaborate with pharmacists.  


  • People visit pharmacies on average 35 times per year.
  • 29% of adults take 5 or more medications.      
  • There are 125,000 deaths nationally per year are due to medication nonadherence. 


Stay up-to-date on the latest in healthcare! Click here to join the Well-Ahead Louisiana Provider Education Network! 

Well-Ahead Louisiana Celebrates American Heart Month

There are countless resources that help to promote healthy hearts during February.  Some Well-Ahead favorites are the My Heart Score tool from the American Heart Association which encourages individuals to enter health information and provides guidance and recommendations tailored to their heart health score.  We also love Life’s Simple 7, which details seven easy ways to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. The website also includes educational resources that can be shared with patients.

In addition, the Million Hearts initiative aims to prevent a million cardiovascular events in five years through optimizing care, keeping people healthy, and improving outcomes for priority populations. This Heart Month, Million Hearts reminds us that heart disease can happen at any age. National trends show that heart disease death rates are declining more slowly than they have in the past, especially among adults ages 35 to 64. Check out the Million Hearts website to find educational resources for both patients and health professionals.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) invites you to take a pledge to #MoveWithHeart this month! Take the pledge now through March 2, 2018, in just 3 simple steps:

  • Record a short video of yourself saying “I pledge to move more for my heart health.”

  • Share your video on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MoveWithHeart.

  • Challenge your friends and family to #MoveWithHeart!

In addition to the pledge, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has a variety of educational resources that can be used throughout American Heart Month to help people learn more about heart disease and how to be more active. Check it out the website here:


  • Heart disease is the number one killer in Louisiana.  More than 29 Louisiana residents die of heart disease every day.

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors for heart disease. Ask your health care team to check your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels regularly to help you take steps to control your levels.


You can stay up-to-date on current resources for cardiovascular health and other chronic diseases by joining our Provider Education Network!  

Check webinar topics at

Are you interested in improving provider education? Well-Ahead Louisiana is currently leading a Health Systems Alignment project where provider education is a hot topic.  Email to join the conversation!


Well-Ahead Louisiana Promotes Quality Improvement Efforts Within Health Clinics

Improving the standard of care in health systems is vital to improving chronic disease rates. Recently, Well-Ahead Louisiana partnered with the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum to improve hypertension and diabetes outcomes by implementing Quality Improvement (QI) best practices. To do this, the Quality Forum provided QI practice coaching and technical assistance to several Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers throughout the state.

Participating clinics selected different steps in the care continuum to target for improvement. This ranged from scheduling follow-ups, increasing the use of diabetes management education, and improving coding within the Electronic Health Record. All efforts supported the overall goal of controlling blood pressure and glucose levels. To get started, participants performed a chart audit or added data to an existing patient registry to enable them to assess problem areas. For example, one clinic identified that it was not consistently receiving test results performed by an outside provider. Upon tracking this, the clinic saw significant improvement in obtaining such results.

Well-Ahead Louisiana would like to congratulate the following sites who participated in this effort: Total Family Medical; Abbeville General; RKM Primary Care Clinic; and Winnsboro Health Clinic. Special thanks to the Quality Forum for its dedication to improving patient care in Louisiana!

Did You Know?

  • Quality improvement in health systems is essential to improving chronic disease rates in Louisiana. In 2014, Louisiana had the fifth highest mortality rate for heart disease, seventh highest for diabetes, and fourth highest for stroke in the nation.


Are you interested in improving the standard of care in your health clinic? In 2018, Well-Ahead will partner with four additional Rural Health Clinics to provide Quality Improvement coaching. Clinics will receive a $4,000 incentive payment upon completion of quality improvement activities. For more information, or to apply, email Marie Darr at Deadline to apply is November 30th, 2017!

May is National High Blood Pressure Education and Stroke Awareness Month

High blood pressure is the most important controllable risk factor for stroke, as well as an important risk factor for heart disease. May 17th is World Hypertension Day.  This observance promotes public awareness of hypertension and encourages individuals worldwide to work toward prevention and control of this silent killer. The goal is to increase blood pressure awareness, which you can do by promoting educational resources and recommending your patients check their blood pressure.

If you are a healthcare provider, check out our educational resources on blood pressure screening, risks, and self-management tools.  In May, encourage your patients to take at least one step towards a healthier heart by getting screened, making a change in their diet, or even going for a long walk. 

Employers, including schools, can improve the health of employees by providing increased awareness on stroke risks through enrollment in the National Stroke Association’s FAST program. This program provides training materials to help educate employees on the warning signs of stroke. Check out an overview of the program and the free resources available here.

Tobacco use is another important risk factor that contributes to high blood pressure and stroke. Through the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, Louisiana offers free cessation resources. If you are not already enrolled as a Fax-to-Quit provider, consider doing so today to help connect your patients to the resources they need to quit tobacco.

Did You Know?

  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of adult disability. Many factors can impact a person’s risk for stroke, including high blood pressure, age, family health history, and more. The good news? Many strokes are preventable and treatable.

  • Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation for stroke death rates, according to the American Heart Association. 

  • About three in four people who have a first stroke, have blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg.


  • Talk with your patients about their unique risk factors for #stroke. Learn more here, or follow @CDCgov on Twitter. 
  • Encourage your patients to learn the signs of a #stroke. Get started with the tools featured here, or follow @MillionHeartsUS on Twitter. 
  • Discuss #bloodpressure goals with your patients to reduce the risk of #stroke.  Click here to learn more.