Soon McHenry County residents will not have to travel outside the county to receive the highest levels of heart care. Centegra Health System plans to establish the county’s first open heart surgery program to help combat the number one killer in McHenry County, heart disease.
“With guidance and support from physicians and staff, for a number of years Centegra has strategically worked to implement a cardiovascular services program of high clinical quality with the ultimate goal of expanding the program to offer the community the full continuum of cardiac care. That continuum includes the addition of a comprehensive open-heart surgery program,” Michael S. Eesley, Centegra President and CEO said. “Through 20 years of hard work, Centegra has revolutionized the heart care our patients receive and the addition of open heart surgery plays a key role in our vision for a healthier community.”
In November, Centegra officials will file an application for a Certificate of Need with the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. Approval of the CON could bring the much-needed service to the region in early 2006. Plans call for the program to be housed at Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry.
Centegra has been addressing the heart care needs of the community for several decades beginning with the opening of the cardiac rehabilitation program in 1983. Since then Centegra has expanded the program to offer the area’s first cardiac catheterization lab, the Centegra Heart Failure Center, and the first emergency and elective coronary angioplasties to help save the lives of those suffering from heart disease.
According to Aaron Shepley, Senior Vice President and Site Administrator for Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center, “Centegra is very excited about the addition of this much-needed program. We have worked carefully to implement a cardiovascular program following the guidelines established by the American College of Cardiologists, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. And we have also followed state guidelines set by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board to meet volume thresholds as we’ve developed our comprehensive approach to cardiac services. We are confident that the program will provide a true benefit to the people living and working in McHenry County.”
“Putting the patient and community first is at the forefront of everything we do. The addition of an open heart program means our patients will have better access to cardiac care and most importantly, more lives will be saved by having a comprehensive heart program right here in our community,” noted Suzan Buchaklian, Executive Director of Cardiac Services at Centegra.