Since our founding we have been committed to serving the African American community of North and inner Northeast Portland with a goal of reducing the health inequities that cause illness and early death among this population. African Americans are at greater risk
Since our founding we have been committed to serving the African American community of North and inner Northeast Portland with a goal of reducing the health inequities that cause illness and early death among this population. African Americans are at greater risk of high blood pressure and have higher blood pressures as well as complications like stroke and heart attack. Our staff and volunteers are making a difference.
In 2013 we provided 1,503 visits, similar to 2012. Our staff also provided over 200 blood pressure checks at community events, an increase of almost 100% from 2012. Like last year, we added 130 new patients to our Chronic Disease Registry of patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol and/or depression. This high “churn” rate really keeps us busy, as we strive to provide needed “catch-up” services to all our new patients.
Similar to 2012, 52% of our patient visits in 2013 were with African Americans. We’re especially proud of our rates of blood pressure control among our African American patients. 67% of our patients who have high blood pressure are African American, and 81% of our African American patients with hypertension were at goal by the end of 2013. For African American men nationwide, the rate of blood pressure control is 30%. Word is getting out about our success in helping our African American patients reach their blood pressure goals, and our program is a model for others.
Our patients with diabetes are seeing their health improve as well, getting blood sugar and blood pressure under control as well as receiving recommended preventive services. 93% of our diabetic patients had good or excellent blood sugar control in 2013 (an increase from 78% from 2012). Overall, 72% of our diabetic patients had blood pressure at goal, and 87% of our African Americans with diabetes reached blood pressure targets. Over 97% received the immunizations recommended by the CDC for all adults with diabetes (pneumococcal vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine series), and 100% of our patients with diabetes were offered the recommended statin to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
We are excited by the opportunities provided by the Affordable Care Act to bring health services to so many who have gone without for so long. Most of our patients qualify for the Oregon Health Plan and we will continue to be their primary care home. As we offer assistance with health insurance enrollment, expand our services and further our outreach this year we will continue our focus on advancing health equity for those most at risk.