CALL FOR COMMENTS: Quality Measure for African Americans with Heart Failure

Dear Colleagues

As I highlighted in my note last week (appended below), the National Quality Forum (NQF) is currently considering an important quality measure for African Americans with heart failure, and we hope you’ll take just a few minutes today to comment on the proposal.

NQF’s decision on whether or not to move forward with the proposed measure will depend largely on the comments they receive from the public.

As you know, while anyone can be affected by heart failure, the disease hits the African American community the hardest. Studies have found that African Americans suffer from heart failure at an earlier age, are diagnosed with more advanced forms of the disease, and are at a significantly higher risk for mortality than other populations.  And despite the fact that there is an FDA-approved treatment that has been proven to be particularly effective in African Americans, only a small percentage of those who are clinically eligible are receiving the treatment.  If NQF were to adopt this measure, more people would get the right treatment, and thousands of lives could be saved.

To comment on the proposed quality measure, please see the instructions at the end of this email.  And to make it as simple as possible for you to engage in the process, we’ve provided a draft comment below that you can feel free to “cut and paste” into the provided text box (and hopefully personalize) once you’re logged into NQF’s comment portal:

I am writing in support of a proposed quality measure that has the potential to save thousands of lives annually by highlighting a preventable treatment deficiency, namely, the National Minority Quality Forum’s submission (# 2764) regarding a fixed-dose Combination of Hydralazine and Isosorbide Dinitrate Therapy for Self-identified Black or African American Patients with Heart Failure (HF) and LVEF <40% on ACEI or ARB and Beta-blocker Therapy.

Today, less than 10% of eligible heart failure patients are being prescribed an FDA-approved treatment that’s been proven to significantly reduce hospitalization and mortality rates. That’s why I’m writing in support of the measure submitted by the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) that strongly encourages healthcare providers to ensure that eligible African American patients with heart disease receive the proper course of treatment. 

The science behind the impact of this FDA-approved drug has been well documented.  Its benefits have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and other peer-reviewed sources, and the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have released detailed practice guidelines calling for this specific treatment protocol.

Nonetheless, while published studies estimate that there are over 150,000 African Americans living in America who could benefit from this treatment, only 7% (or 11,000) of them are receiving it. As a consequence, experts have estimated that 6,655 blacks die prematurely every year.

An endorsement from the National Quality Forum (NQF) is considered the highest standard for healthcare quality, and sends a strong message to providers that measures are evidence-based, valid, and can help patients achieve better outcomes.  I strongly believe that the proposed heart failure measure meets NQF’s criteria, and encourage you to provide your formal endorsement in order to help facilitate widespread adoption of this treatment.

I appreciate the opportunity to weigh in on this important issue, and urge NQF to approve this quality measure submission.  

How to comment on the NQF quality measure:

  1. Click here to create an account with NQF

a. Provide your name and contact information in steps 1 and 2

b. Activate your account by following the link included in the confirmation email provided by NQF

c. Select a username and password, then click submit

  1. Click here to log in to NQFs online comment portal for cardiovascular measures

a. Log in using your NQF username and password

b. Identify the comment titled NQF# 2764 – Fixed-dose Combination of Hydralazine and Isosorbide Dinitrate Therapy for Self-identified Black or African American Patients with Heart Failure and LVEF <40% on ACEI or ARB and Beta-blocker Therapy

i. As of July 29, this is the last entry on pg. 3 of the cardiovascular measures

  1. Click ‘Comment’ to open the submission window for the relevant heart failure quality measure

a. Enter the text of your submission in the comment window

b. At the bottom of the submission form, click ‘Submit Comment’

Kind Regards,
Gary Puckrein

Gary Puckrein
President and CEO

National Minority Quality Forum
1101 K Street, NW
Suite 350
Washington, DC 20005
infodesk@nmqf.org

 


(Note last week appended, as noted above)

 

Good afternoon:

I am writing to solicit your help with an issue that is very important to me personally, and to the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) as an institution. I am asking you to consider submitting a comment on behalf of either yourself or your organization to the National Quality Forum (NQF) by August 12 in support of the NMQF submission for a new quality measure for self-identified blacks with Heart Failure (HF).

Additionally, to the degree that your organization would be interested in publicizing this call to comment, I would be happy to work with you develop a “call to action” email alert for your membership.

Two weeks ago, we submitted a proposed, but long overdue, quality measure to NQF to reflect the appropriate standard of care for African Americans with Heart Failure. As many in our community are aware, today, only a very small number (about 7%) of African Americans who are clinical eligible for the FDA-approved therapy are getting it. As a consequence, over 6,500 blacks die prematurely every year because they are not receiving or adhering to standard of care.  This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

The quality measure submission advanced by the National Minority Quality Forum would act to strongly encourage healthcare providers to ensure that eligible African American patients with heart disease receive the proper course of care treatment – namely, fixed-dose hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate. The benefits of this FDA-approved treatment have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and other peer-reviewed sources. Moreover, this proposal is based on an American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guideline calling for this specific treatment protocol.

The NQF’s determination regarding the merits of our submission will be substantially influenced by public input, and especially informed stakeholders, like you, can play a critical role in impacting their decision. Accordingly, I hope you will take the time to submit a comment in support of this important initiative.

In order to better familiarize you with the issue, I am attaching a fact sheet for your review. Additionally, in order to facilitate your commenting, I have included instructions below on how to submit to the NQF.

Thank you, again, for your consideration of this request for assistance. With your help, and the engagement of other stakeholders, we can advance an important improvement in the care of African Americans with Heart Failure, and show progress towards eradicating this terrible disparity in our healthcare system.

 

Kind Regards,
Gary Puckrein

Gary Puckrein
President and CEO

National Minority Quality Forum
1101 K Street, NW
Suite 350
Washington, DC 20005
infodesk@nmqf.org