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Reducing Hypertension in the United States of America

Felix W. Ortiz (NY)

WHEREAS, more than 70 million Americans suffer from hypertension; and

WHEREAS, the American Heart Association estimates that hypertension will cost the US economy $66.4 billion in 2007; and

WHEREAS, high blood pressure is the most common diagnosis in the US and affects nearly one in three adults; and

WHEREAS, high blood pressure is the most consistent and powerful predictor of stroke and is causally involved in nearly 70% of all strokes; and

WHEREAS, according to the American Heart Association the overall estimated prevalence of high blood pressure was 72 million with women having higher rates of prevalence than men; and

WHEREAS, it is estimated that hypertension will cost the US economy $66.4 billion in 2007, and

WHEREAS, the prevalence of high blood pressure is increasing in children; and

WHEREAS, the leading causes of death for Hispanic males and females are diseases of heart and stroke. For Hispanic men, 27.9% of the deaths are attributed to diseases of heart and stroke, while 34.9% of female deaths are caused by diseases of heart and stroke, and

WHEREAS, among Hispanics aged 20-74, the prevalence of high blood pressure is 24.2% for men and 22.4% for women, and

WHEREAS, the prevalence of hypertension in African Americans is over 41%, is among the highest in the world and is increasing, and

WHEREAS, compared to whites, African Americans develop high blood pressure earlier in life and their average blood pressure levels are much higher, and

WHEREAS, as a result of the increased prevalence of high blood pressure in African Americans, compared to whites, they have a 1.3 greater rate of nonfatal stroke, a 1.8 times greater rate of fatal stroke, a 1.5 times greater rate of heart disease death, and a 4.2 times greater rater of end stage kidney disease, and

WHEREAS, significant barriers to accessing quality hypertension care exist in America that adversely affect the health of patients, limit their ability to effectively control their high blood pressure, and adversely affect their quality of life; and

WHEREAS, people with hypertension can significantly lower their risk for complications if they are educated about hypertension, receive the medical care and treatment needed to control their blood pressure, learn and practice the skills needed to control blood pressure levels, and receive regular checkups from a healthcare professional;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the NHCSL Executive Committee assembled on August 5, 2007, in Boston, Massachusetts, whose legislators are interested in improving the state of hypertension for Americans, will organize a Legislative Hypertension Caucus to set a legislative agenda for each legislative session that is designed to reduce the burden of hypertension on Americans by working together to improve clinical outcomes of hypertension care, increase access to quality hypertension care, and enhance the health of Americans who have hypertension or are at risk of developing hypertension; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a National Hypertension Advisory Council be formed, which will include representatives of the patient populations affected, the National Medical Association and the National Pharmacists Association, as well as other healthcare providers and interested stakeholders; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the National Hypertension Advisory Council will utilize the approved medical community guidelines to improve the quality of hypertension care, and the health status of those with high blood pressure in America by:

(a) Identifying and evaluating current funding sources for hypertension care and quality improvement in America; and

(b) Identifying and making recommendations regarding funding levels needed and potential sources to improve hypertension care in America; and

(c) Evaluating the state of hypertension care in America, including but not limited to identifying treatment barriers that prevent those with high blood pressure from achieving better blood pressure control and avoiding costly complications from hypertension; and

(d) Making recommendations to the NBCSL and NHCSL Legislative Hypertension Caucus about ways to reduce the burden of hypertension on Americans, including the burden on populations disproportionately affected by high blood pressure; and

(e) Publishing an annual report that includes recommendations on ways to improve hypertension care and the health of those with hypertension throughout America.

This resolution was adopted August 5, 2007, at the NHCSL Executive Committee Meeting held in Boston, Massachusetts.

Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (NY), NHCSL President