Banner Churchill Hospital ends cardiac rehab |

Banner Churchill Hospital ends cardiac rehab

Nevada Appeal News Service

Banner Churchill Community Hospital is ending cardiac-rehabilitation services this week, a decision hospital officials said was made due to declining numbers and growing costs associated with the program.

Cardiac rehab services will end Friday, according a letter sent to by BCCH CEO Charlie Myers to affected patients. The hospital has offered the services for 12 years.

“This has been a very difficult decision for us to make in view of the outstanding care and commitment provided by our staff to patients, such as you. The cost of providing health care services and declining reimbursements has forced us to evaluate all service lines identifying those that are under-utilized and those that are experiencing extreme growth,” Myers said in the letter.

The program has less than 20 patients in phase 3, the program’s final and elective segment. The two patients in phase 2, a monitored exercise program for those recovering from heart trauma, will be allowed to complete their prescribed program. Phase 1 offers acute, post heart attack care.

The program’s numbers have declined for several years, said Cindy Johnson, director of planning and marketing for BCCH. Emphasis is being focused on areas with greater demand as the community and hospital grow, she said.

The change will affect one full-time nurse and two part-time nurses, all of whom will be encouraged to apply for other open positions, said Skip Reeves, assistant administrator of operations at BCCH. A doctor who supervised the program was previously on staff and will remain.

Reeves said referrals to cardiac- rehabilitation programs are declining nationwide.

“They don’t prescribe rehab as much as they did in the past,” he said.

Patients who require cardiac rehab services in the future will be referred to other regional health- care providers, he said.

Other areas of the hospital have seen growth. There were more than 20,000 emergency services visits in 2005, Johnson said. The hospital is also considering expansion of labor and delivery rooms for newborns, she said.

New imaging equipment has been added, and an ambulance garage was constructed last year adjacent to the hospital.