Walgreens joins U.S. government, CDC in Million Hearts Initiative, aimed at preventing 1 million heart attacks, strokes over five years; company will provide free blood pressure testing, promote diabetes, heart testing

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen

Sep 14, 2011 – Business Wire

DEERFIELD, Illinois , September 14, 2011 () – Walgreens, (NYSE:WAG - News)(NASDAQ:WAG - News) together with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), today announced a new effort to fight heart disease with Million Hearts Initiative in Washington, D.C. This public and private sector initiative is a coordinated approach to help prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years by finding ways to reduce the number of people who need treatment and improve the quality of treatment for those who need it. According to the CDC, heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death.

Walgreens will engage its more than 26,000 health care providers to support the Million Hearts prevention goal by providing blood pressure testing, at no charge, in consultation with a Walgreens pharmacist or Take Care Health providers. In addition, Walgreens also plans to promote diabetes health testing in November and heart health in February, and make Million Hearts resources available at its 7,760 drugstores nationwide.

As some of the most accessible health resources in thousands of communities nationwide, Walgreens pharmacists are well positioned to provide education, support and screenings for chronic care patients, including immunizations and numerous health tests.

“We are pleased to partner with HHS, the CDC and CMS to help patients learn to live healthier lives while providing quality, accessible care,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “Participation in this campaign is another example of the opportunity our pharmacists and Take Care Health providers have to drive positive health outcomes through their face-to-face interactions with patients.”

Million Hearts is also working with other health practitioners, private insurers, employers, health advocacy groups and community organizations to reach the campaign’s goals:

Empowering Americans to make healthy choices such as preventing tobacco use and reducing sodium and trans fat consumption. This can reduce the number of people who need medical treatment such as blood pressure or cholesterol medications to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Improving care for people who do need treatment by encouraging a targeted focus on the “ABCS” – Aspirin for people at risk, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management and Smoking cessation – which address the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes

For more information about the Million Hearts Initiative and its partners, visit http://millionhearts.hhs.gov.

About Walgreens

Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2011 sales of $72 billion. The company operates 7,760 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services include retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.

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