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Hospital finishes $3.5M overhaul of cardiac wing

The Daily Star - 8/1/2019

Aug. 1--United Health Services Chenango Memorial Hospital last week completed a $3.5 million renovation of the southern wing of its first floor, which now houses UHS Chenango's heart care center.

The move and renovation adds space and services for local heart care patients in need of additional care, according to a media release by UHS. The new location has an entrance off the main lobby and offers easy access and parking. The renovation also expanded the capacity to see patients with more exam rooms and larger waiting rooms and registration desk.

One of the new services being offered is cardiac rehabilitation. This is a medically supervised program designed to improve cardiovascular health for those who've had a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty or heart surgery, according to the American Heart Association's website. Previously, patients had to travel 30 to 40 miles out of the area to get this service, said James O'Brien, a cardiologist at UHS Cardiology.

One part of cardiac rehabilitation is exercise, and UHS's cardiac rehabilitation program includes treadmills, recumbent bicycles, free weights and elastic bands, O'Brien said. There is also an education component for patients and their families to have a better understanding of cardiovascular disease and certification in basic life support for patients and their families will be offered.

O'Brien said a cardiac rehabilitation program was a "glaring deficiency" he noticed at the hospital when he arrived about eight years ago. He said since the cardiac rehabilitation program's opening, the hospital has been getting a lot of referrals, such as a patient who started cardiac rehabilitation in Florida but spends the summer in upstate New York.

"There is not only a need, but a demand for it in this area," O'Brien said.

UHS Cardiology staff members O'Brien and adult nurse practitioners Sue Button and Mary Rivera are all accepting new patients and offering additional services, according to the release. Rivera joined the staff in early 2019. She offers expanded services in pulmonology including more options for those patients dealing with breathing issues and related heart concerns that may coincide with an illness.

"My first and only concern is getting our patients back to normal functional ability as quickly and as painlessly as possible," said Joel Cummings, a registered nurse at UHS Chenango specially trained to work with cardiac rehabilitation patients, in the release. "I have wanted this local option for many years now and I am so glad to be able to offer these services to our cardiac patients here in Norwich."

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.


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