United Memorial Medical Center is pleased to announce that it will continue to provide a Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation Program and will eventually add the service to its newest physician practice, United Memorial Cardiology and Internal Medicine, located at 229 Summit St., Batavia. Planned renovations to the practice will be altered to accommodate Phase II cardiac rehab.
Acquiring the cardiology and internal medicine practice of Dr. Keun Oh and Dr. Mohammad Rathor following Dr. Oh’s retirement in December, allows the hospital to continue to provide the medically monitored Phase II program on a smaller, flexible scale than what was previously available.
In November, United Memorial announced that it would close its Cardiac Rehabilitation Department effective March 1 due to declining patient volumes in the Phase II program and high expenses that were not offset by the self-pay, cardiac maintenance program. The 90-day time frame allowed the current eight participants in Phase II to complete the medically monitored portion of their program. For the 70 individuals enrolled in Cardiac Maintenance, the hospital has worked closely with the GLOW YMCA, Genesee County Branch, to develop a cardiac maintenance program to meet their specific needs in a community setting.
“By working with our community partners and thinking creatively, we have found a way to provide locally delivered cardiac rehabilitation services for our residents in a manner that maintains the quality and availability of care and is economically feasible,” stated Mark C. Schoell, president and CEO of United Memorial.
Phase I cardiac rehabilitation occurs while the individual is still in the hospital following a cardiac issue such as a heart attack. Phase II is an outpatient rehabilitation program that begins following discharge from the hospital, usually within a few days.
Participants in Phase II exercise regularly in a closely supervised setting. They learn stretching and cooling techniques, how to monitor their heart rate and activity levels, increase their aerobic capacity and become stronger. While exercising, a health professional assesses their heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure and symptoms of distress. Patients receive extensive education that includes risk factor modification, stress management, and nutrition counseling. Phase II is a medically monitored program and requires a physician in close proximity.
Phase III cardiac rehab is often referred to as cardiac maintenance. It focuses on long-term lifestyle changes to prevent future cardiac issues and patients continue to exercise to regain physical function. They learn to monitor their pulse and weight and watch for symptoms of coronary artery disease. Patients track their progress in written logs and share the information with their physician. Cardiac maintenance usually has a group format where participants offer support and encouragement to each other. Many cardiac rehab maintenance programs are typically held in community facilities.
When the department closure was announced, cardiac maintenance patients expressed concern about having a program to go to where they could continue with their groups. Many patients have exercised together, following the same routine for a number of years and formed deep bonds and friendships.
“The mission of the YMCA to build the spiritual, mental and physical wellness of all people aligns itself perfectly with the needs of the Cardiac Maintenance participants. We want to focus on healthy living by helping people achieve lifestyle goals through wellness, education and social interaction,” said Scott Taylor, CEO of the GLOW YMCA.
The Genesee County YMCA is currently developing the cardiac maintenance area for all those in the program. They will waive joiner fees for current cardiac rehab participants and offer the program at the same, if not slightly reduced, monthly fee level. United Memorial will donate much of the exercise equipment currently used in the program to the YMCA for their program, easing the transition of the clients and provide education regarding nutrition and wellness through the Healthy Living Department, UMMC’s community outreach program.
The YMCA will begin offering ardiac maintenance services on March 5 and provide a smooth transition to current participants.