Hospital starts open heart surgery program - East Valley Tribune: News

Hospital starts open heart surgery program

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Posted: Saturday, October 17, 2009 2:05 pm | Updated: 1:05 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Northwest Mesa’s only full-service hospital recently celebrated its first anniversary with the launch of an open heart surgery program and its first two coronary artery bypass graft surgeries.

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Arizona Regional Medical Center opened in late September 2008 after Mesa General Hospital closed that May. The hospital, on Mesa Drive north of University Drive, is owned by 42 investors, most of whom are physicians.

“We have over 200 employees and over 100 physicians on the medical staff, so we’re just excited to be able to bring back to the community what we think is an important service to the community,” said Brent Cope, hospital CEO. “At first, we worried about whether we’re going to be able to survive, whether enough people are going to want to utilize the facility, but luckily there was enough interest in the facility locally. It was apparent within a couple of months that our likelihood of survival would be high.”

The hospital’s second year will include continued expansion of services and the addition of a second, 30-bed hospital in Apache Junction, Cope said. Construction on Arizona Regional Medical Center Apache Junction is nearing completion at 2050 W. Southern Ave., he said.

“Apache Junction doesn’t have its own hospital, and that city is real excited about getting their own hospital,” Cope said. “That will allow us to be more efficient in the way that we deliver care and more uniform in the way we deliver care.”

Parent company Iasis Healthcare closed Mesa General because it could not make capital improvements to a leased facility. The 126-bed hospital opened in 1965 and had about 380 employees. Iasis already had opened another hospital, Mountain Vista Medical Center, in east Mesa.

A group of 42 investors then stepped forward with plans to reopen the hospital, and, with legislative support, Arizona Regional became a reality.

“We have 103 beds licensed right now ... but we’re still not full yet,” Cope said. “We have room to grow currently, and we’re looking at different emphases and different specialties to bring in and to fill up. The organization is viable. It’s ahead of schedule on the demand, but there’s still much more demand than we originally geared up for. We’ve had twice as many admissions than we originally had anticipated, and that meant twice as many resources that we had to have at the ready.”

Arizona Regional’s Open Heart Surgery Program will complement the hospital’s existing cardiology, interventional cardiology and vascular surgery programs. It will offer traditional and minimally invasive coronary artery bypass grafting, beating heart surgery, and valve repair and replacement.

Coronary artery bypass graft surgery reroutes blood around clogged arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart.

East Valley residents, particularly those living in northwest Mesa, now have state-of-the-art heart surgical care available in their neighborhood, Cope said.

“This used to be a hospital and then it closed for a while, and it really left a void in the community,” said Dr. Joseph Hessel, a heart surgeon who performed the hospital’s first two coronary artery bypass graft surgeries.

“Having this facility open and having the catheterization lab open, and then of course having the heart surgery available, it’s a tremendous service to the community. We’re excited to develop and really make it an active and quality center for state-of-the-art cardiology and cardiac surgery care.”

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