Hospital Brings Back Cardiac Rehab Program

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Some 20 people are planning to participate in a rehabilitated rehab program at Payson Regional Medical Center with their former instructor, Diane Riddle.

The program, dropped last year by the hospital due to costs, is an exercise program aimed at helping cardiac and pulmonary patients regain their health.

The Mogollon Health Alliance will pick up the tab for those who can't afford to pay, and others will be billed on a sliding scale, MHA president Sue Pretsch said Wednesday. The cost per month for each patient will be $35.

MHA will also pay for the half-time position to run the program, now called MHAX III, and the hospital will provide the space in the old wing of the building.

The group plans to start the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday classes on May 18 if all the equipment is in place at the time.

Pretsch said two treadmills, a step machine and a bicycle, oxygen tanks, an oximeter and a blood pressure cuff have been ordered and will cost the group $19,000.

The third phase of the former PRMC Cardiac Rehab program was dropped in June 1998 because the program was not paying for itself. Duane Anderson, who was chief administrator of PRMC at the time, said the program cost $71 a month for each of 45 patients.

When the number in the class dropped to 25, the cost per patient per month was $128. Anderson said at the time that the program was not covered by Medicare. "It's a non-reimbursed program we've been providing," he explained.

Participants in the third phase of rehabilitation for out-patients at PRMC met and attempted to get hospital officials to continue the exercise program they had come to rely on.

Riddle was laid off and her partner, Debbie Nichols, went into case management at the hospital.

Riddle said she taught the class at the hospital for six years before it was terminated. She was a hospital employee for nearly 10 years and assisted in phase II of the cardiac-pulmonary rehab program in addition to her duties with phase III of the program.

After searching for alternatives for the program, Sue Pretsch, MHA president, said the best solution the hospital's landlord board could come up with is to return to the old wing of PRMC.

The decision to have the class at PRMC was made several months ago, after PRMC confirmed that the hospital's management company, Community Health Services of Tennessee, would reinstate the program at the hospital under the sponsorship of the MHA.

Participants will need a prescription from a physician and a signed consent form in order to become a member of MHAX III.

At the beginning of each class a participant will be required to have a blood pressure reading, have his or her heart rate calculated and obtain levels of oxygen saturation. A member will have gone through testing under phase II of the program and will know his or her baseline.

Any unusual readings must be reported and warm-up and cool-down stretches will be mandatory.

For information on the program, contact the Mogollon Health Alliance office at 472-2588.

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