Blood Pressure Control

Helping Patients Take Their Medicine.

Graphic: The percent of Medicare Part D enrollees not taking their blood pressure medicine is higher among certain race/ethnic groups

On the left side, there is a horizontal bar graph representing how the percent of Medicare Part D enrollees not taking their blood pressure medicine is higher among certain race/ethnic groups.

The “Race/Ethnicity” percentages are:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage %
American Indian/Alaska Native 39%
Black 36%
Hispanic 34%
Asian/Pacific Islander 26%
Non-Hispanic, white 24%

SOURCE: Medicare Part D Beneficiaries, 65 or older, Medicare Claims Data, 2014.
To learn more about Medicare Part D, visit:

On the right side, there is a map of the United States representing the differences by county in the percent of Medicare Part D enrollees who aren’t taking their blood pressure medicine as directed.

The map breaks down the variable of “Not taking medicine as directed” using the following groupings for counties:

Insufficient Data

Note: Data are spatially smoothed to enhance the stability of estimates in counties with small populations.

Additional maps are available on the Interactive Atlas for Heart Disease and Stroke at

The southern United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have the highest percentages of people who don’t take their medicine as directed. About 1.4 million more patients with Medicare Part D would be taking their blood pressure medicine as directed and more lives could be saved if people in all states performed as well as the three states with the lowest percentages (North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota).

State Not taking medicine as directed (%)
Alabama 29.9
Alaska 29.0
Arizona 28.2
Arkansas 30.4
California 27.1
Colorado 26.3
Connecticut 23.1
Delaware 23.0
District of Columbia 33.7
Florida 27.7
Georgia 31.0
Hawaii 25.5
Idaho 25.2
Illinois 23.8
Indiana 23.9
Iowa 19.7
Kansas 25.0
Kentucky 27.7
Louisiana 31.5
Maine 20.7
Maryland 25.4
Massachusetts 21.9
Michigan 23.3
Minnesota 18.9
Mississippi 32.8
Missouri 25.3
Montana 23.3
Nebraska 22.6
Nevada 28.2
New Hampshire 20.5
New Jersey 25.3
New Mexico 29.8
New York 25.3
North Carolina 28.1
North Dakota 18.7
Ohio 23.9
Oklahoma 29.6
Oregon 23.9
Pennsylvania 24.0
Puerto Rico 39.6
Rhode Island 22.9
South Carolina 29.6
South Dakota 21.0
Tennessee 28.0
Texas 30.8
U.S. Virgin Islands 46.9
Utah 28.7
Vermont 19.1
Virginia 25.7
Washington 24.1
West Virginia 25.8
Wisconsin 18.8
Wyoming 25.5

Graphic: At each visit: Identify. Assess. Act.

The infographic is titled, “At each visit: Identify. Assess. Act.”

This page describes how health care systems can help more people take their blood pressure medicine as directed.

In the illustration, there is an image of a man at the center. Four branches extend from the center, which include 1) “doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals” depicted by an illustration of a nurse, 2) “pharmacists” depicted by an illustration of a pill bottle and pill pack, 3) “insurers” depicted by an illustration of a checklist on a clipboard, and 4) “community health workers” depicted by an illustration of a pill bottle, weekly pill box, and a piece of paper

Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are advised to:

  • Check blood pressure and assess if patient is taking medicine as directed.
  • Prescribe simple regimens (e.g. 90-day fills and combination medicines) and generic medicines.
  • Counsel how and why to take medicine as directed using language patients and their caregivers understand.
  • Encourage the use of home Food and Drug Administration-approved blood pressure monitors and tools to track and share blood pressure readings.
  • Use blood pressure treatment protocols and embed them in electronic health records to help patients control their blood pressure.

Pharmacists are advised to:

  • Check blood pressure at prescription pickup and ask whether patients are taking their medicine as directed.
  • Counsel patients at each pharmacy visit on how and why to take medicine. Enroll patients in reminder programs to renew prescriptions on time.

Insurers are advised to:

  • Incentivize simplified treatments (e.g. 90-day refills, combination medicines).
  • Use administrative claims data to identify those not taking medicine as prescribed and support coordinated care among healthcare team.
  • Remove or lower co-pays for chronic disease medicines.

Community Health Workers are advised to:

  • Discuss blood pressure, medicine, and reasons patient may not be taking them.
  • Communicate with the rest of the healthcare team.
  • Provide culturally appropriate education.
  • Suggest patients take medicine while doing other routine activities (e.g. brushing teeth) and use weekly pill boxes and reminder apps to help them remember to take medicine.
  • Connect patients with community resources to help improve and manage their blood pressure.

SOURCE: CDC Vital Signs, September 2016.

Page last reviewed: September 13, 2016