Open Heart: Open for Business

Heart Health
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It's been long awaited, but now Mid-Ohio Valley residents won't have to look or travel far for top of the line cardiac care.

Saint Joseph’s Hospital opened its heart surgery center Tuesday.

"West Virginia's newest heart center is open for business," Patsy Hardy, CEO of St. Joseph's Hospital, announced Tuesday.

And the center soon can be accepting patients.

"Our target is 350 operations a year," says St. Joseph's CEO Patsy Hardy.

The surgery center will heavily involve Saint Joseph's partner, Charleston Area Medical Center. Plans call for CAMC to contribute its own surgeons.

"This is not a new program," said Dr. Zafrullah Kahn, who provides thoracic and cardiovascular services for CAMC. This is a continuation of what we have done in Charleston.”

In the midst of the discussion over who would get open-heart, one thing frequently was forgotten, the fact that residents were going out of town to get those services.

"When I discussed this with the Health Care Authority," said Gov. Bob Wise, "I suggested a facility that would serve this entire area. My call to Ohio is: we have what you need, come on over."

While it was in competition with Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital for the open-heart services, Saint Joseph's has been getting ready for this for years. It performed the first of 7,700 heart catheterizations in 1988.

What may be just as important as the open-heart surgeries is that the new program will now allow Saint Joseph's Hospital to better perform angioplasties.