Riverside Hospital takes steps to serve public on the road

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Riverside Health System applied to provide mobile cardiac catheterization services in the Williamsburg, Gloucester, Tappahannock and Eastern Shore areas. To offer the service, Riverside is required to obtain a certificate of public need to the Virginia Department of Health.

The certificate of public need program was designed to contain health care costs by ensuring that expensive medical investments will be used and will not duplicate services already available in the area.

Cardiovascular disease is one of the top five causes of death in the U.S. About every 25 seconds, someone in the U.S. will have a coronary event, and about every minute, someone will die of it, according to the American Heart Association. But coronary events can be avoided. Cardiac catheterization is one of several diagnostic tools used to access coronary disease, and interventional cardiac catheterization is in many cases replacing open-heart surgery as a treatment option.

In the Williamsburg area, 162 patients in 2010 commuted to Riverside Regional Medical Center for cardiac catheterization. Patients in Tappahannock and on the Middle Peninsula may have to drive 30 minutes or more for cardiac catheterizations. Eastern Shore patients’ drive time is more than an hour. There, the heart disease death rate is 23 percent higher than the state average and the incidence of cardiovascular disease is 59 percent higher than the state average.

“I endorse the need for this based on the number of patients that we refer to outside institutions for diagnostic catheterizations,” said Lloyd J. Kellam, M.D., Eastern Shore cardiologist with Riverside. “There is a high burden of disease here, and there are many patients that could certainly qualify for cardiac catheterizations who do not get them because of factors of travel, cost and fear of going to larger institutions.”

The mobile lab will enable rural patients to receive cardiac care close to home. The lab is expected to be at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital once a week and Riverside Walter Reed Hospital twice a week. It will be at Doctors Hospital of Williamsburg and Riverside Shore Memorial Hospitals once a week once the new hospitals open.

Riverside Regional Medical Center was named one of Truven Health Analytics’ 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals, ranking among the best hospitals in the country in four key measures of cardiovascular care.

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