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PCNA and Million Hearts: Helping More People Reap the Benefits of Cardiac Rehab

Participation in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) improves quality of life and reduces the risk of death and readmissions to the hospital. Individuals who complete all 36 sessions of CR have a 47% lower risk of death and a 31% lower risk of heart attack and are 33% less likely to experience a hospital readmission. CR participants also experience enhanced functional status, mood, and medication adherence. Despite these benefits, participation remains low, ranging from 19% to 34%, with dramatic variation by state and qualifying diagnosis.

In recognition of CR’s impact on health and the imperative to help more people participate, PCNA helped launch the Million Hearts® Cardiac Rehabilitation Collaborative (CRC) in 2015. 

This national forum has grown to over 200 CR professionals, clinicians and health care teams, hospital and health system administrators, CR participants and their family members, payers, innovators, and others executing their aim to achieve 70% or greater participation among those eligible by 2022. 

The CRC’s action plan has five objectives: increase awareness of the value of CR, spread best practices, improve health equity, enhance sustainability, and track progress toward the 70% goal. To jumpstart awareness about CR, the CRC set an aim of reaching 5 million people about the importance of CR by December 31, 2018.  Read on to see how you can help spread the word!

PCNA members play a pivotal role in helping their patients achieve optimal cardiovascular health---and a critical role in ensuring high rates of participation in CR.  What actions can YOU take?
  1. Find and share key messages about the importance of CR with your colleagues, patients, and their families. Let us know how many people your messages reach (newsletters, presentations, web-blasts, etc) at millionheartsCRC@cdc.gov. And on social media, use #CRSavesLives to stay connected to the national movement.
  2. Refresh your knowledge about the value of CR. Visit Million Hearts® CR webpage. Earn a certificate of participation from ACC’s free Cardiac Rehabilitation Information for Physicians webinar series.
  3. Check out the Cardiac Rehabilitation Change Package and select an idea that fits the needs of your patients, program, and/or hospital. Pull a team together and launch a quality improvement project!
  4. Submit your CR success story to Huddle for CareTM so others can adopt or adapt your approach. Creating a race to the top--at least 70% participation nationally--will help so many people!
  5. Support PCNA’s efforts to allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to provide direct supervision for cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation beginning in 2019. 
  6. Join the Million Hearts® CRC to contribute to national progress in CR participation; email MillionHeartsCRC@cdc.gov.