Michigan Medicine faculty member, Million Hearts to kick off new cardiac rehabilitation virtual learning series

February 7, 2023  //  FOUND IN: News,

This February is American Heart Month, commemorating the more than 600,000 Americans who die from heart disease each year and raising awareness about strategies that support heart health. 

Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is one of those critical strategies, with the second full week of February dedicated to promoting its role in treating heart disease. 

To help health care providers enroll more patients in this life-saving program, Mike Thompson, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Michigan Medicine and co-director of the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC), will present as the guest speaker at a new CR virtual learning workgroup.

This kickoff presentation is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, from 2-3 p.m., as part of an MVC series that supports collaboration between hospitals and physician organizations seeking to increase CR enrollment. Also joining Thompson will be a representative from Million Hearts, a national initiative co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that enacts strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease and avert preventable cardiovascular events.

Evidence of benefits

CR is a medically supervised program that includes exercise, education, peer support and counseling to help patients recovering from a cardiac event, disease or procedure. There is high-quality evidence that it saves both lives and money. A 2016 meta-analysis estimated that for every 37 coronary heart disease patients who attended CR, an average of one life was saved. Additionally, an analysis of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) patients treated between 2015 and 2019 was completed by MVC and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2) that estimated 86 lives saved, 145 readmissions avoided and approximately $1.8 million in savings.

Current state of CR utilization

Despite such evidence of its impact, CR remains heavily underutilized. Only one in three eligible Michiganders participates in a single session — a rate well below the Million Hearts nationwide goal of 70% participation. Reports on statewide CR utilization rates also show wide variability between Michigan hospitals (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

The presentation led by Thompson and Million Hearts on Feb. 16 is one of many activities scheduled in 2023 to support CR improvements in Michigan. 

MVC also supports the efforts of the Michigan Cardiac Rehabilitation Network (MiCR), which was established by MVC and BMC2 in 2022 with its first official stakeholder meeting in October 2022. The MiCR team will continue to provide virtual and in-person stakeholder meetings for health care providers in the coming year, with virtual meetings planned for the spring/summer and an in-person meeting in the fall. These stakeholder meetings will build on the momentum generated by the MiCR Best Practices Toolkit, which was developed last year and outlined quality improvement strategies. 

MVC member hospitals and physician organizations will also continue to receive reports on hospital CR rates with updates on their progress toward new statewide CR goals.

The MVC team anticipates these concerted efforts and tools will help hospitals across the state increase patient participation. Doing so would save thousands of lives. MVC invites clinical and quality improvement personnel to join its Feb. 16 workgroup by registering in advance. For more information, contact the MVC Coordinating Center at Michigan-Value-Collaborative@med.umich.edu.