CALL FOR COMMENTS: Quality Measure For African-Americans With Heart Failure by August 12th

heart disease, heart failure, BiDiL, National Minority Quality Forum, FDA
Image source: Blackdoctor.org

A number of health disparities exist among African-Americans, one of the biggest being heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, among non-hispanic blacks age 20 and older, 44.8% of men and 48.9% of women have heart disease. Heart failure, a potential consequence of heart disease, occurs when the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood and is generally caused by heart attacks, high blood pressure and infections.

Did you know that there is an FDA-approved drug, BiDil (bye-DILL), that has been proven to work particularly well in African-Americans with heart failure? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), patients on BiDil experienced a 43% reduction in death and a 39% decrease in hospitalization for heart failure compared to placebo, and a decrease of their symptoms of heart failure. Despite these findings, only 7% of those who are clinically eligible for this therapy receive it. 

We hope that you will join us in providing comments on your support for this drug regimen. Unfortunately, there are barriers in place to keep this treatment from being both used and widely publicized. Please see below on how you can submit your comments. YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED! 

 

CALL FOR COMMENTS: Quality Measure for African Americans with Heart Failure

Dear Readers,

The National Quality Forum (NQF) is currently considering an important quality measure for African Americans with heart failure, and we hope you’ll take just a few minutes today to comment on the proposal. NQF’s decision on whether or not to move forward with the proposed measure will depend largely on the comments they receive from the public.

As you know, while anyone can be affected by heart failure, the disease hits the African American community the hardest. Studies have found that African Americans suffer from heart failure at an earlier age, are diagnosed with more advanced forms of the disease, and are at a significantly higher risk for mortality than other populations.  And despite the fact that there is an FDA-approved treatment that has been proven to be particularly effective in African Americans, only a small percentage of those who are clinically eligible are receiving the treatment.  If NQF were to adopt this measure, more people would get the right treatment, and thousands of lives could be saved.

To comment on the proposed quality measure, please see the instructions at the end of this message.  And to make it as simple as possible for you to engage in the process, we’ve provided a draft comment below that you can feel free to “cut and paste” into the provided text box (and hopefully personalize) once you’re logged into NQF’s comment portal:


I am writing in support of a proposed quality measure that has the potential to save thousands of lives annually by highlighting a preventable treatment deficiency, namely, the National Minority Quality Forum’s submission (# 2764) regarding a fixed-dose Combination of Hydralazine and Isosorbide Dinitrate Therapy for Self-identified Black or African American Patients with Heart Failure (HF) and LVEF <40% on ACEI or ARB and Beta-blocker Therapy.

Today, less than 10% of eligible heart failure patients are being prescribed an FDA-approved treatment that’s been proven to significantly reduce hospitalization and mortality rates. That’s why I’m writing in support of the measure submitted by the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) that strongly encourages healthcare providers to ensure that eligible African American patients with heart disease receive the proper course of treatment. 

The science behind the impact of this FDA-approved drug has been well documented.  Its benefits have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and other peer-reviewed sources, and the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have released detailed practice guidelines calling for this specific treatment protocol.

Nonetheless, while published studies estimate that there are over 150,000 African Americans living in America who could benefit from this treatment, only 7% (or 11,000) of them are receiving it. As a consequence, experts have estimated that 6,655 blacks die prematurely every year.

An endorsement from the National Quality Forum (NQF) is considered the highest standard for healthcare quality, and sends a strong message to providers that measures are evidence-based, valid, and can help patients achieve better outcomes.  I strongly believe that the proposed heart failure measure meets NQF’s criteria, and encourage you to provide your formal endorsement in order to help facilitate widespread adoption of this treatment.

I appreciate the opportunity to weigh in on this important issue, and urge NQF to approve this quality measure submission.  

How to comment on the NQF quality measure:

  1. Click here to create an account with NQF

a. Provide your name and contact information in steps 1 and 2

b. Activate your account by following the link included in the confirmation email provided by NQF

c. Select a username and password, then click submit

  1. Click here to log in to NQFs online comment portal for cardiovascular measures

a. Log in using your NQF username and password

b. Identify the comment titled NQF# 2764 – Fixed-dose Combination of Hydralazine and Isosorbide Dinitrate Therapy for Self-identified Black or African American Patients with Heart Failure and LVEF <40% on ACEI or ARB and Beta-blocker Therapy

i. As of July 29, this is the last entry on pg. 3 of the cardiovascular measures

  1. Click ‘Comment’ to open the submission window for the relevant heart failure quality measure

a. Enter the text of your submission in the comment window

b. At the bottom of the submission form, click ‘Submit Comment’

Kind Regards,
Gary Puckrein

Gary Puckrein
President and CEO

National Minority Quality Forum
1101 K Street, NW
Suite 350
Washington, DC 20005
infodesk@nmqf.org

Copyright © 2015 National Minority Quality Forum, All rights reserved.
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National Minority Quality Forum

Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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