A New View Of Cardiac Care In The South Hills

by Cynthia Havrilak, RN, MSN

Nestled on the top of Coal Valley road is one of South Hills best-kept secrets. This is the site of Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC), which has provided primary medical services for over twenty-five years. This hospital has been a hub for general medical care but lacked a comprehensive cardiac program. Fortunately, Jefferson Regional Medical Center is led by an administration that strives to respond to the needs of the patients it serves and addressed this void. The administrative team, supported by Health Care Vision, Ltd. cardiovascular clinical consultants, planned and implemented a full service, state of the art cardiovascular center enabling Jefferson Regional Medical Center to treat patients who wanted to stay in their community.

From left to right are: Cyndi Havrilak, Health Care Visions; Terry Riffer, Director of Cardiology, Pulmonary, and Vascular Services-Jefferson Regional Medical Center; Louise Urban, Director of Patient Care Services--Jefferson Regional Medical Center; Cindy Ragan, Director of Surgical Services--Jefferson Regional Medical Center; and Marsha Knapik, Health Care Visions.

The Heart Institute, opening this month at Jefferson Regional Medical Center is expected to be well worth the time, effort and expense that have been invested. This program is poised to be one of the premiere open-heart surgery and interventional cardiology programs available in Southwestern PA.

Why would another cardiovascular program be of benefit to the JRMC community?

Many people would be surprised to know that JRMC’s emergency room treated 45,000 patients last year, a 19% increase over the previous year. This is the second busiest emergency room in Allegheny County. An average of twenty to twenty-five patients are transferred out of the emergency room ever y month for acute cardiac care. Hospital transfers add considerable time to treatment and increased costs to the patient’s care not to mention the inconvenience experienced by the patient and loved ones.

Six well known, experienced premiere Cardiology groups, and two premiere cardiothoracic surgical teams participate on the medical staff at Jefferson Regional Medical Center and welcome the expanded services. These cardiac specialists have encouraged, supported and spent many hours on multiple planning teams preparing this program to provide superior service for patients and care providers.

The medical staff assisted the organization in the design and development of several unique features. The ten bed cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVU), two cardiovascular operating rooms and two additional cardiac catherization suites are all conveniently located on the first floor of the new wing.

This close proximity facilitates a specialized approach to patient care, reduces patient transport time and provides time saving convenience for staff and physicians. Digital imaging integration has been incorporated in all the above areas as well as cardiac diagnostic sites providing the medical staff with the ability to view and compare vital patient images from multiple locations throughout the facility. This use of technology is expected to reduce the patient’s time to treatment, a very important factor in treatment success.

All of these advanced features are arranged within a modern and innovative architecture design that provides for clinical excellence as well as comfort with calming views of tree covered hills from each patient room and the family waiting area.

A One Stop Post Op™ patient delivery model for the post open heart surgery patient was selected by the organization. Health Care Visions, Ltd who offers in-depth knowledge of this patient care delivery model and has assisted a number of hospitals in developing this approach guided implementation. This patient care model allows the patient to remain in the CVU from the immediate postoperative period to discharge. Demonstrative benefits for the One Stop Post Op™ design are:

Gaining community and physician confidence in a new program is usually a challenge for start up programs; however, Jefferson Regional Medical Center has responded to this concern with their successful recruitment efforts. The reputable and respected surgical teams of Dr. Machiraju (Raj Cardiovascular Associates) and Dr. Sang Park (Park Cardiothoracic and Vascular Institute) will be providing open heart surgery services and lending expert leadership to this program.

All of the experienced cardiology groups currently on staff have worked with the hospital to prepare for coronary interventions and advanced diagnostic procedures. Complementing the medical staff skills will be the One Stop Post Op™ nursing team. Seventy percent of these nurses have direct CV experience and other thirty percent have intensive care unit experience. Combined critical care experience of this exemplary staff adds up over 200 years. These are some of the reasons that have led the entire hospital system to express confidence in this program.

Health Care Visions has enjoyed partnering with Jefferson Regional Medical Center on their open heart surgery and interventional cardiology expansion program. Together, we were able to facilitate patient flow processes directed toward reducing delays in care, develop “user friendly” patient education and provide extensive staff education outlining the care of the open heart surgery and interventional cardiology patients. These coordinated efforts integrated the latest cardiology trends into current practice and are sure to benefit JRMC patients.

Jefferson Regional Medical Center is offering a new view of care cardiac and is positioned to become a regional leader for cardiovascular care.

Cynthia Havrilak, RN, MSN is a Clinical Consultant with Health Care Visions, Ltd., a firm specializing in cardiovascular care consulting. Health Care Visions has been assisting hospitals since 1997 with cardiovascular program assessments and expansions. The firm has assisted eighteen hospitals through out the country with open heart surgery and coronary interventions startups.