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: