The University of Miami Comprehensive Hypertension Center (UMCHC) at UHealth – the University of Miami Health System and the Miller School of Medicine has been awarded the American Heart Association’s Comprehensive Hypertension Center Certification. The prestigious distinction recognizes the center’s commitment to following proven, research-based treatment guidelines to care for people with complex or difficult-to-treat hypertension or high blood pressure.
“Being recognized as a national leader in hypertension care speaks volumes about UHealth’s dedication to treating this disease at the highest level and the dedicated physician-researchers who developed the center to advance patient care,” said Dipen Parekh, M.D., chief operating officer for UHealth.
To achieve certification, practices must be primarily devoted to patients with hypertension and related disorders, be recognized as referral and treatment resources for resistant and secondary hypertension, and have facilities and personnel capable of assessing and evaluating complicated hypertension problems. Certified Comprehensive Hypertension Centers are recognized as leaders in providing the most up-to-date effective treatment strategies based on current evidence-based research in hypertension.
“The American Heart Association’s Comprehensive Hypertension Center Certification highlights UHealth’s accomplishments and commitment to providing our patients with the highest level of hypertension care, centered in scientific research,” said Maria Carolina Delgado-Lelievre, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and founding director of the University of Miami Comprehensive Hypertension Center.
The UM program is the only AHA-certified comprehensive hypertension center in Florida. It joins the ranks of Harvard, Cleveland Clinic, Loyola, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Rochester University, the University of Texas Southwestern, and other select institutions that are among the 15 AHA Comprehensive Hypertension Centers in the U.S.
“Achieving this designation places our UHealth program in elite company and demonstrates to our patients that they will receive the highest quality of care, benefitting from our focus on advancing medicine,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School.
The UMCHC, which is part of UHealth’s Cardiovascular Division, underwent several reviews by the AHA’s quality improvement specialists who evaluated the practice’s policies, procedures, and operations to ensure appropriate diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment protocols were in place and executed for hypertension patients.
The UMCHC is comprised of six unique program areas that led to it receiving certification from the AHA. Those programs include the Hypertension Program, Multidisciplinary Program, Excellency Program, Community Program, National Initiatives, and the Research Program.
Patients are evaluated through four pillars, which include genetics, biochemical markers, and physiological and environmental history that give rise to the patient's blood pressure (BP) phenotype, and their risk and therapeutic profiles.
As part of the center’s multidisciplinary program, patients with high cardiovascular risk, including those with organ damage, comorbidities, resistant or secondary hypertension, and pregnant women, are managed together. Different pathways have been established to tailor specific hypertension processes and collaborations.
The UMCHC excellency program works together with key UHealth hospital players to create policies and processes to better diagnose, treat and manage high blood pressure among hospitalized patients. The UMCHC also developed multi-sector task forces to focus on specific issues related to hospitalized patients.
The main goal of the Community Program is to help decrease disparities in awareness, prevention, treatment, and control of hypertension in our communities. This is particularly important when addressing the problems associated with uncontrolled hypertension, the identification of groups at the highest risk, and highlighting the resources needed in our communities.
The UMCHC partners with several national organizations to improve the national hypertension control rate.
Through this certification program, the American Heart Association aims to improve the outcomes of people with complex or difficult-to-treat hypertension by collaborating with medical practices to implement evidence-based treatment guidelines.
For more information on the American Heart Association accreditation and certification programs, visit www.heart.org/certification.