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June 27, 2013

Happy 10 years of heart care

Cooperstown Crier

---- — Ten years ago, thousands of people living in the eight-county region served by Bassett Medical Center in rural upstate New York had few choices when it came to advanced heart care. 

That changed when Bassett opened its comprehensive heart program, the Bassett Heart Care Institute in Cooperstown in 2003. 

We would like to say happy 10 years and we look forward to even more advancements in the future.   

According to a media release, patients in the Bassett region now have ready access to an award-winning cardiac care program that has improved the lives of many through cardiac catheterizations, placement of stents to open blocked arteries, pacemakers to correct erratic heart rhythms, and open heart surgery to restore blood flow, fixed damaged valves and more. In fact, since opening the heart program at Bassett, more than 8,000 catheterizations, 3,000 coronary angioplasties and 1,000 open heart operations have been performed.

“One of the most important advances we brought to the region is the Heart Alert program” Chief of Cardiac Surgery Dr. Robert Lancey said in the release. “We were one of the earlier programs in New York state to establish this life saving process by partnering with local emergency medical services to provide heart attack victims with the best and most rapid treatment possible. It is the gold standard now in heart care.”

The Heart Alert program was created when Bassett provided EMS squads in the region with EKG machines and training to enable the squads to immediately test patients they suspect are having a heart attack. The squad members can then phone ahead to have the Bassett Cardiac Catheterization Lab on stand-by for the patient. Upon arrival, patients can be taken directly to the lab at Bassett, speeding up the process of getting the blocked vessel opened and saving heart muscle. 

Chief of Cardiology Dr. Patrick McNulty said, “We have about 100 heart alerts a year now at Bassett. Many come in during the regular day, but it’s the ones that come in at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning we need the speed for.”

Today, Bassett’s heart program offers some of the most advanced procedures available in Central New York and has been named one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Heart Care by Healthgrades, the leading provider of information to help consumers make an informed decision about a physician or hospital. Bassett Medical Center has also earned designation as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Only 13 other heart programs in the state have earned this recognition.

Way to go! 

We agree with McNulty who said, “Awards by themselves don’t mean a whole lot, but when the selection criteria are evidence-based and related to quality of care and outcomes it can provide people with the confidence they need to make informed choices about where to get their heart care.”

The Bassett Heart Care Institute’s comprehensive program includes:

• Board certified physicians to provide the highest level of cardiac care

• An in-the-field EMS activated Heart Alert system

• Complex testing, including stress testing, echocardiograms, and cardiac catheterization studies 

• Coronary angioplasty and stent placement 

• Advanced electrophysiology services with two board certified electrophysiologists 

• Cardiac surgery to bypass coronary arteries, correct arrhythmias, and repair and replace faulty heart valves 

• Availability of ventricular assist devices to save failing hearts

• Outpatient cardiology clinics around Bassett’s eight-county region in Cooperstown, Oneonta, Herkimer, Little Falls, Delhi, Hamilton and Cobleskill

• Cardiac rehabilitation programs at Bassett facilities in Cooperstown, Herkimer and at FoxCare in Oneonta