Patients plan rally to save CPMC cardiac exercise class 

click to enlarge CPMC cardiac patients were notified last week of the closure of a 50-year-old recovery program.
  • CPMC cardiac patients were notified last week of the closure of a 50-year-old recovery program.

A 50-year-old class that helps once-hospitalized cardiac patients recover and rebuild strength in their hearts is in danger of closing to make room for patients who still need doctor-prescribed exercise.

Patients in Phase 3 of California Pacific Medical Center’s cardiac recovery program were notified last week of the closure of the class, slated for Thursday. Many said they worry they won’t have the same quality of care during their recovery.

“It’s a major program that is very beneficial to the patients,” said Ed Rosenberg, who had a heart attack in February. “They told us about other places to go, but Curves is not a place to monitor people with heart conditions.”

Rosenberg said he and the nearly 200 other patients affected by the change plan to rally outside the medical center today in hopes of saving the program.

Kathie Graham, director of 
communications for the hospital, said CPMC is “absolutely not” 
closing the entire cardiac program, but merely discontinuing an exercise class.

By stopping the class, Graham said, the hospital can offer more help to patients in Phase 2, which involves exercise prescribed by 
doctors.

Graham said Phase 3 patients have already been discharged and fulfilled their prescribed workouts. If they choose to continue exercising, the hospital has provided them with a list of 14 alternatives, including the medical center’s own yoga and qi gong classes along with nearby YMCA classes.

Still, patients who have used the service after a heart attack, bypass surgery or other cardiac-related ailment say they benefit from the on-site medical staff, which is not provided at other facilities.

Craig Mole, 63, said the rehab program is the best he’s ever been to. Mole said roughly one year after he had stents put in to open up his arteries in 2008, he had an incident during his workouts with the 
Phase 3 class that nurses immediately recognized.

“It was my lifesaver because of the care they give,” Mole said.

An estimated 180 people participate in the Phase 3 program, according to Graham, and 80 patients are part of Phase 2. The hospital would like to increase the number of patients in Phase 2 using the workout facilities.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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