Untreated high blood pressure, known by many as a “silent killer,” can—without symptoms—quietly damage the body for years and lead to devastating medical conditions. Over time, when high blood pressure is not consistently and effectively treated, it will ultimately manifest into heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, or kidney disease.

Today, in Monroe County:

  • It’s estimated one out of every three adults suffers from high blood pressure.
  • An additional one out of three is considered to be on the fringe of having acceptable blood pressure levels meaning they are likely to have it soon.
  • That’s 360,000 people in Monroe County who are facing, or who could face, potential major medical issues.

Beyond personal health, there’s a significant financial cost to our community as well:

  • Hospital admissions for heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, and kidney disease—the end results of untreated high blood pressure—cost more than $169 million in Monroe County each year.
  • That spending forces a trickle-down effect that ultimately increases health care and insurance costs locally.

The High Blood Pressure Collaborative was created by the Rochester Business Alliance Health Care

Planning Team to address these issues. In partnership with the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, they are now being implemented in the Finger Lakes Region.

Together, they have the critical support of 50 partner organizations—including all major hospital systems—and more than 100 volunteers. It’s estimated the Collaborative’s work can save our community more than $8.5 million each year in hospitalization costs alone.

The Goals of the Collaborative

  • To improve the number of people in our region who are in control of their blood pressure.
  • To do so through community partnerships which include regional businesses, organized labor, faith-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies.
  • To work with the medical community on transforming care to more proactively identify and effectively treat patients with high blood pressure.
  • To ultimately decrease health care costs to our region.

Current progress indicators include:

  • New York State’s Economic Development Council just awarded the RBA High Blood Pressure program $300,000.
  • AIDSCare, Bausch + Lomb, and Paychex are all serving as workplace leaders in adding this to their wellness programs. By the fall of 2011, there were nearly 2,340 screenings in the workplace.
  • Additionally, more than 5,000 blood pressure level screenings (1,800 people) have taken place through community outreach efforts—such as events at faith-based organizations (Antioch Baptist and the Central Church of Christ), barber shops, neighborhood centers, and health fairs.
  • Through an unprecedented partnership between RGH, Unity, and URMC—a registry of 56,000 patients has been created so the group can study and analyze blood pressure and health data.