Northeast Oklahoma Heart Center
As a part of the 2003 strategic plan created for the Tahlequah City Hospital (now NHS), the Trustees of the Tahlequah Hospital Authority set into motion a strategic plan, challenging its physicians and staff members to develop a local clinical service line for each of the three major health risks threatening our patients: heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. To intervene with heart disease, the Northeast Oklahoma Heart Center, LLC was formed in July 2005.
The members discussed and theorized that proximity to care was a significant barrier to cardiac health. They cited studies that compared urban versus rural rates of heart disease to support their opinion and formed a heart center close to the patients that the members already served. The heart center would be progressive and forward-looking. It would deliver cardiovascular management services in an integrated model combining Cardiologist and Cardiovascular Surgeons and improve the quality, access and cost-efficiency resulting in enhanced the cardiac health of Northeastern Oklahomans.
NOHC purchased and established a cardiac catheterization lab at NHS. In 2006, the first open heart surgery was performed. Advanced cardiac, thoracic, and vascular procedures are performed regularly, in spite of peer hospital predictions of poor care quality, inferior patient outcomes, and/or a complete failure of the venture. In fact, NOHC performs at or better than national standards concerning heart procedures and unexpected complication, comorbidity, or mortality.
The continuum of care has expanded with the development of the Cardiac Rehabilitation unit. This unit offers heart patients the opportunity to establish a healthy, independent lifestyle after a cardiac event or procedure through gradual monitored exercise in a controlled environment. Many cardiac patients are fearful of heart exertion due to exercise. Cardiac Rehab restores this confidence.