Stronger Hearts Helpline

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Approximately 5.1 million Americans live with heart failure. This disease is often hard to understand and even harder to manage for many patients and their caregivers. This is a major problem for the U.S. and its seniors as:

  • Approximately 14% of Medicare patients are being treated for heart failure – that’s about 1 in 5 seniors.
  • Heart failure treatment accounts for more than $30.7 billion annually nationwide.
  • About 50% of people diagnosed with heart failure die within five years of diagnosis.

The National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention wanted to do something about heart failure.  That’s why we convened a Steering Committee in November of 2013 to develop a plan of action. After months of research, meetings and deliberation, these experts created the Stronger Hearts HelplineTM concept.

Stronger Hearts Helpline™ Steering Committee

The Stronger Hearts Helpline Steering Committee includes a broad range of experts from leading hospitals, CMS, nursing groups, not-for-profits, VA, corporate groups, public relations, and other areas. Members include:

  • Clyde W. Yancy, MD, FACC, FAHA, MACP (Steering Committee Chair)
  • Inder Anand, MD, FACC, FRCP, DPhil
  • Javed Butler, MD, MPH
  • Keith Ferdinand, MD, FACC, FAHA, FASH
  • Gregg Fonarow, MD, FACC, FAHA
  • Laura Gordon
  • David Kountz, MD, MBA, FACP
  • Steven Manoukian, MD, FACC, FSCAI
  • David Nilasena, MD, MSPH, MS
  • Sara Paul, DNP, FNP, FAHA
  • Jerry Penso, MD, MBA
  • Ileana Piña, MD, MPH
  • Gary Puckrein, PhD
  • Rhodes Rigsby, MD, MBA
  • Joanna Sikkema, DNP, ANP-BC, FAHA  
  • Frank Smart, MD, FACC, FACP

Funding for this Initiative is provided by Novartis

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What is the Stronger Hearts Helpline?

The Stronger Hearts Helpline is a free, bilingual (Spanish) heart failure support service that is available to people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It provides people who have heart failure and their families/caregivers access to community resources that can help them better understand and manage the disease. Stronger Hearts Helpline offerings include:

  • Assistance finding heart failure professionals and clinics.
  • Additional information about heart failure and its treatment.
  • Help with arranging non-emergency needs, like transportation to a doctor’s appointment, delivery of prescription medications, and finding exercise programs, nutrition information and mental health programs.

When our Steering Committee of physicians and patient advocates conceived the Stronger Hearts Helpline, it was never intended to replace clinical care. Instead, the Helpline provides patients with a valuable tool to help them feel more confident in their ability to follow the treatment plan their doctor prescribed.

How it Works

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Stronger Hearts Helpline Pilot in San Bernardino County

The National Forum launched the Stronger Hearts Helpline pilot program in San Bernardino County, Calif. 

The Helpline was launched in the county because of its diverse population, high incidence of heart failure and strong community infrastructure.

  • Although San Bernardino County is nicknamed “The Heart of Southern California,” the hearts of its residents deserve more attention and support:
  • The county has the 2nd highest rate of heart failure treatment in the state.
  • Nearly 20% of Medicare beneficiaries in San Bernardino County are being treated for heart failure – that translates to 1 in 5 seniors in the region getting treatment!
  • About 18% of San Bernardino residents are at or below the poverty rate, which can make access to heart failure care particularly challenging.

The Helpline builds on San Bernardino County’s existing 2-1-1 infrastructure, which provides a variety of services to the local community. Residents in the area who have heart failure or a loved one with the disease can access the Helpline by dialing 2-1-1 and asking for the Stronger Hearts Helpline by name. Live operators will guide these callers to the appropriate free and/or low cost programs and resources with San Bernardino County.

“The Stronger Hearts Helpline is our very emphatic way of saying, we need to address heart failure and heart disease differently.” 
Trudy Raymundo, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, Stronger Hearts Helpline Partner

We developed Stronger Hearts Helpline in partnership with the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, San Bernardino 2-1-1 and many other national and local organizations and agencies that represent public and private healthcare organizations, as well as those in faith, advocacy, academic and policy settings. The pilot project launched on February 2015 and is made possible through funding from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. To learn more about this pilot program, read the Stronger Hearts Helpline Factsheet.

Stronger Hearts Helpline Toolkit

Also available in Spanish
If you want to help fight heart failure in San Bernardino County download the toolkit above and contact Debbie Martinez at debbie.martinez@nationalforum.org.