Tennova-Cleveland prepares upgrade of its cardiac unit

By BRIAN GRAVES

Posted 11/11/17

As Tennova-Cleveland celebrates

its 65 years of service to the community, it is a good time to begin looking

ahead to what is in store for the changing medical and community …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Tennova-Cleveland prepares upgrade of its cardiac unit

Posted

As Tennova-Cleveland celebrates its 65 years of service to the community, it is a good time to begin looking ahead to what is in store for the changing medical and community landscapes.

Coleman Foss, chief executive officer of Tennova-Cleveland, said the hospital is preparing to upgrade a service that is one of the most used in the area. This upgrade may prevent the need for transfers to other hospitals as well as bring quicker life-saving attention to patients.

"Obviously, Cleveland and Bradley County have grown significantly over the years and will continue to grow at a pretty phenomenal rate," Foss said. "We feel we have an obligation to continue to raise the bar in the services we provide."

Foss said the key component of any community hospital is its cardiac unit.

"If you are having chest pains, you want to know you are going to be taken care of in a timely and efficient manner," he said. "We have got to be one of the largest hospitals in the state that does not have a STEMI (segment evaluation myocardial infarction) program somewhat because of the proximity and services the Chattanooga hospitals have."

He said in the past the hospital has tried to get those patients stabilized and sent to Chattanooga.

"No one plans for a heart attack," Foss said. "It can happen at any time of day so you really have to be available 24-hours a day and you have to have at least three interventional cardiologists. They are the ones who put the stints in the arteries and get the blood flow going back to the heart."

Jennifer Ayers was the hospital's first employed cardiologist and "she allowed us to build on the platform to recruit other cardiologists."

Foss said the hospital currently has three interventionists and as of January will have a fourth in place.

The current team on the cardiologist staff includes: Dr. Selwin J. Abraham, Physician Assistant Amy Lindquist, Dr. Steven K. Austin, Adult Nurse Practitioner Marisa Burns, Dr. Hady Lichaa, and Adult Care Practioner David Mullins.

"We are putting the final pieces in place to have a full-blown STEMI program so that people who show up in our ER will get immediate care, but that does not mean we are doing open heart surgery," he said. "We can certainly save heart tissue which is a key element and time is of the essence."

Foss said they are hopeful the program will be in full swing by the second quarter of next year.

"We have already gotten a number of accreditations from the American College of Cardiology which is a part of the process," he said. "We are very much on the timeline to be able to provide it."

Foss said that means if a patient shows up at Tennova's ER with chest pains, "we are getting you taken care of."

He said Tennova would continue to work with other hospitals should patients need higher levels of care.

"We are probably going to reduce in half the number of cardiac transfers we currently are doing," Foss said.

"That will meld us into what I consider to be a full-service community hospital," Foss said.

He also noted the new robotic surgery is now being used frequently.

"We are truly evolving into what I think is a very cutting-edge hospital," Foss said.

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