Highlighting Health Disparities During American Heart Month and Black History Month

Join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) this February as it recognizes American Heart Month and Black History Month by helping those affected by heart disease take steps toward better health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., including Black Americans (23.5%). This group is also more likely to be susceptible to chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes that increase their risk for heart disease. In addition, among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, Black Americans have a higher prevalence of heart failure when compared to other minority populations.

Highlighting these conditions is of increased priority during the COVID-19 pandemic as heart conditions, including heart failure and coronary artery disease, put adults that are affected by them at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

These observances offer CMS OMH an opportunity to bring awareness about heart disease, its risk factors, and how heart disease disproportionately affects Black communities. CMS offers a variety of resources that can be used to improve access to health care services and health equity within these vulnerable communities as well as eliminate existing health disparities:


  • Visit cms.gov/omhcovid19 to find Federal resources to assist those who work with the populations most vulnerable to COVID-19. Partners and organizations are also encouraged to download and share From Coverage to Care (C2C) COVID-19 resources to help everyone remain healthy during this public health emergency. Access these resources and shareable graphics at go.cms.gov/c2ccovid19.
  • Review the C2C Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You to help patients better understand their health coverage and how to use it to access primary care and preventive services.
  • Download and share C2C Prevention Resources to provide information about the preventive services that are available to adults, teens, children, and infants, with many available at no cost under most health coverage.
  • Visit the C2C 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Coverage webpage to learn how to help patients prioritize their health and live a long and healthy life.
  • Read CMS OMH’s heart-related data snapshots to learn more about health disparities that exist within the Medicare population: Heart FailureIschemic Heart Disease, and Hypertension.
  • Visit the webpage for the Connected Care campaign, which helps raise awareness of the benefits of chronic care management (CCM) for patients with multiple chronic conditions and provides health care professionals with resources to implement CCM. This program for Medicare beneficiaries helps connect patients to the services they need to manage chronic conditions.
  • Download the CCM Connected Care Toolkit to learn more about how CCM can benefit your patients and practice.
  • Watch and share the “Connecting the Dots” animated video for patients about CCM services for Medicare beneficiaries living with multiple chronic conditions; the video is also available in Spanish.
  • Read CMS OMH’s Building an Organizational Response to Disparities (Executive Summary) to find evidence-based interventions that can contribute to reducing health disparities.

Review A Practical Guide to Implementing the National CLAS Standards: For Racial, Ethnic, and Linguistic Minorities, People with Disabilities and Sexual and Gender Minorities to help enable your organization to implement the national culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) Standards and improve health equity.