Health Department And Independent Pharmacies To Increase Access To Free Blood Pressure Checks

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce rates of high blood pressure among New Yorkers, the Health Department today announced a collaboration with New York City chain and independent pharmacies to promote access to free blood pressure checks across the city.

The Department has also placed 55 blood pressure kiosks in areas with high rates of high blood pressure, including East and Central Harlem, North and Central Brooklyn, and the South Bronx, and is planning to significantly increase the presence of kiosks in pharmacies in underserved areas.

To make it easier for New Yorkers to find places offering free blood pressure checks, the Department has identified and added more than 1,200 locations across the five boroughs to the NYC Health Map, an online tool New Yorkers can use to identify different health services available in their communities. The Department has also placed 55 blood pressure kiosks in areas with high rates of high blood pressure, including East and Central Harlem, North and Central Brooklyn, and the South Bronx, and is planning to significantly increase the presence of kiosks in pharmacies in underserved areas.Additionally, the Health Department is conducting a blood pressure “detailing” campaign, in which agency staff hold one-on-one meetings with health care providers – including primary care staff, physicians, and pharmacists – to discuss how to help patients know their blood pressure numbers and take control of high blood pressure. New Yorkers can learn more about high blood pressure and how to address it here.

“High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease, which kills more New Yorkers than anything else. Everyone should check their blood pressure regularly and get care if needed,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Through the NYC HealthMap, New Yorkers can now find a convenient location in their neighborhood where they can check their blood pressure.”

“High blood pressure is often called the silent killer because you can have it but feel just fine – until you have a heart attack or stroke. The good news is high blood pressure can be controlled, and it’s easier than ever to know what your number is and get help to control it,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, Deputy Commissioner for Prevention and Primary Care. “Pharmacies across our city are making it possible for each and every one of us to learn our blood pressure numbers and take action. And it’s free!”

“CVS pharmacists are an important community resource for patients with questions about managing blood pressure or heart disease,” said Dr. Troyen Brennan, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for CVS Health. “We are proud to partner with the City to make free blood pressure kiosks available at select CVS Pharmacy locations because ensuring greater access to free blood pressure checks is a vital step in controlling high blood pressure levels and saving lives.”

“Premature mortality from heart disease is preventable, and high blood pressure is a key risk factor,” said Summer Williams Kerley, R.Ph and Vice President of Clinical Services and Business Development at Rite Aid. “Ensuring New Yorkers greater access to free blood pressure checks is a vital step in controlling high blood pressure levels and saving lives. Rite Aid is proud to provide access to free blood pressure checks in our pharmacies in New York City, and we are excited to continue working with the NYC Health Department to help the people we serve live and stay well.”

“Coalition partners—including DOHMH and Walgreens and Duane Reade —offer access to blood pressure checks in more pharmacies than ever before,” said Anthony J. Riso, R.Ph, Regional Healthcare Director of Walgreens / Duane Reade.

“Pharmacies are located in every neighborhood and play an indispensable role in ensuring New Yorkers are able to learn their blood pressure numbers and take control of their health in their community,” said Ilana Aminov, R.Ph, Board Member of the New York City Pharmacist Society.

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“The New York City Pharmacist Society is proud to see chain and independent pharmacies joining with the New York City Department of Health to increase access to free blood pressure checks across the city,” said Roger Paganelli, R.Ph, Board Member of the New York City Pharmacist Society.

“Cardiovascular disease is one of the major health issues facing Brooklynites, particularly in low-income communities lacking access to nutritious foods,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I commend Health Commissioner Bassett for launching an online health map that will provide Brooklynites with useful information on how to get their blood pressure checked at locations across the borough. It is critical that every resident of Brooklyn gets their blood pressure checked regularly so that they can get proper medical attention.”

“High blood pressure increases your risk for stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease, so it’s important to know if you have it and to get it under control before it causes larger health issues,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “Getting your blood pressure checked is simple and painless. I encourage all Staten Islanders to take advantage of this free service and take control of their health.”

“Good health is a key to a better life,” said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. “New Yorkers must have their vital statistics checked regularly, especially those at risk. I am pleased that the City is working with chain and independent pharmacies to promote free blood pressure checks. Let’s not leave anything to chance. A blood pressure checkup takes a minute to perform. Let’s get checked, New York!”

“It is encouraging that we continue to work towards providing New Yorkers with easy and free access to an array of preventive measures, like blood pressure screenings,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I thank Commissioner Bassett and the NYC Department of Health for working to make it easier for New Yorkers to monitor their blood pressure and take the necessary steps to prevent a stroke or heart attack.”

In 2016, one in four adult New Yorkers – 1.8 million adults – reported having been told they have high blood pressure by a health care provider; many more are undiagnosed. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of New York City’s leading causes of death. Further, one in six deaths due to heart disease and stroke occurs among adults before the age of 65 and are largely preventable. Under its OneNYC plan, the City has committed to reducing the premature death rate by 25 percent by 2040.

In 2016, one in four adult New Yorkers – 1.8 million adults – reported having been told they have high blood pressure by a health care provider; many more are undiagnosed. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of New York City’s leading causes of death. Further, one in six deaths due to heart disease and stroke occurs among adults before the age of 65 and are largely preventable. Under its OneNYC plan, the City has committed to reducing the premature death rate by 25 percent by 2040. Improving controlled high blood pressure is also a key indicator for Take Care New York 2020, a collaborative effort with community partners to address inequities in health outcomes and neighborhood conditions throughout the five boroughs.

Everyone should know what their blood pressure is and the right way to check it. New Yorkers who are being treated for high blood pressure, have other risks for heart disease or stroke, or have had higher than normal numbers in the past, may need to get their blood pressure checked more often. For help finding a provider, call 311. To find more resources about high blood pressure, visit nyc.gov/health and search “high blood pressure.”

Public health “detailing” is an educational approach to working with providers, including primary care staff, physicians, and pharmacists, to promote preventive health interventions. The Health Department conducts multiple public health detailing campaigns every year. The program conducts two in-person visits and delivers Action Kits with printed clinical tools, provider resources, and patient education materials to promote evidence-based best practices. This innovative program helps to improve the quality of care and bridges the gap between health care providers and pharmacists, making messages more consistent and reinforced for patients.

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