Open Door Family Medical Centers has received Gold Recognition for Excellence in hypertension control from the American Heart Association (AHA).
“We’re extremely proud of this recognition, as it’s impossible to overstate the importance of controlling blood pressure,” said Dr. Daren Wu, Chief Medical Officer of Open Door. “Of all the conditions we treat in healthcare facilities across the country, no other condition surpasses hypertension when it comes to the morbidity and mortality it can cause. It’s the single greatest contributor to heart attacks. And, it’s shockingly common – more than one of every three American adults suffer from it.”’
Open Door is one of only 542 medical practices and health centers in America to receive Gold Recognition. To earn this, 70 percent or more of its patients must have their hypertension controlled to a level of below 140/90. Nationally, between 55 – 58 percent of adults with hypertension have their blood pressure controlled to this level.
High blood pressure is the number one factor contributing to deaths from congestive heart failure and cerebrovascular accidents (strokes). It is also a major risk factor leading to kidney failure and the need for lifelong dialysis. Furthermore, elevated high blood pressure is a major cause of blindness due to hypertensive retinopathy and, next to Alzheimer’s disease, the second most common cause for dementia.
According to AHA data, “About 69 percent of people who have a first heart attack, 77 percent who have a first stroke, and 74 percent who have congestive heart failure have blood pressure higher than 140/90.”
The irony, said Dr. Wu, is that hypertension is more straightforward in preventing than many other conditions. “Through a combination of medication use and significant lifestyle modifications – losing weight, reducing sodium intake, managing stress levels, getting more exercise – it’s readily achievable. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen as often as it should.”
He credits Open Door’s effectiveness in combatting high blood pressure through a combination of diligent visit planning, outbound outreach to patients with uncontrolled hypertension, and clinicians’ use of hypertension management guidelines. This includes using bilingual patient advocates and dietitians to refer patients for coaching on healthy eating and introducing them to exercise classes.
Dr. Wu said that of Open Door’s 5,600 patients with high blood pressure, more than 73 percent have their condition under control.
“This is especially impressive when one considers the challenges many of our patients face,” he said. “They face more barriers than most because of poverty, language, workplace exploitation and many other issues.”
Open Door Family Medical Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center. Its mission has remained consistent since it opened in 1972: to provide high-quality health care that is affordable, accessible and efficient.
Across six locations in Ossining, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, Mount Kisco, Brewster and Mamaroneck, as well as its eight school-based health centers, Open Door cares for nearly 1,000 adults and children every day – regardless of ability to pay. In addition to Primary Care (including Pediatrics), Dental, Mental Health, Substance Use Services, Women’s Health, Optometry and Podiatry, Open Door promotes wellness, good nutrition, stress reduction and physical activity to help families stay healthy.