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Coffee Regional expands life-saving cardiac services

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In an initiative to advance the level of cardiac care available to patients of Coffee and surrounding counties, and continue the “Bring it Home” initiative to bring vital healthcare services home, Coffee Regional Medical Center (CRMC) is proud to announce the launch of its new Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Program. After successfully completing a multi-level process, Coffee Regional has received its approval from the State of Georgia’s Department of Community Health to begin offering cardiac intervention services.


Under the encouragement of Coffee Regional CEO Vicki Lewis, the development of this new service line was approved to begin in July 2018. This project was spearheaded by Executive Vice-President Sherry Thomas and Cardiac Cath Lab manager Julie Peterson. An independent consulting firm, Corazon, Inc., was brought in to ensure all items were well-managed through each step of the development process. Their accreditation process exceeded the requirements of the Georgia Department of Community Health and ensured CRMC met and, into the future, sustains established best practice standards for the PCI Program. Cardiologists, of CRH Cardiology Group, Dr. Glenn Evans, Dr. Joel Ferree, and Dr. Willie Bell along with Eddie Roberts, PA-C worked to ensure the cardiac catheterization lab and its employees were prepared for the new program. All physicians working in the new program have extensive experience in cardiac catheterization procedures. Countless members of Coffee Regional have worked diligently to ensure this new program would be patient focused and quality driven.


Though this service is new to Coffee Regional Medical Center, it was vital that the cardiologists performing the procedures be experienced.  Dr. Glenn Evans of CRH Cardiology Group has treated thousands of South Georgians throughout his 23 years as a practicing Interventional Cardiologist. Dr. Evans was previously performing interventional heart catheterizations in Valdosta, Ga and is now performing procedures in Coffee Regional Medical Center’s cardiac cath lab. Dr. Evans is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Interventional Cardiology and received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Ga. He completed 5 years of fellowship training in Cardiovascular Diseases and Interventional Cardiology at University of Tennessee - Memphis. Dr. Evans previously served as Medical Director of Interventional Cardiology South Georgia Medical Center and Chief of Cardiovascular Services for Valdosta Medical Group in Valdosta, Ga.


“This is the beginning of growing a strong cardiac program that meets the needs of Coffee County and residents of South Georgia,” said Sherry Thomas, Executive VP of Patient Care Services.


There will be an interventional cardiologist on call 24/7. Expert interventional cardiologists from Emory Health System in Atlanta, Ga and the Ashchi Heart and Vascular Center in Jacksonville, Fl will be assisting Dr. Evans with interventional cardiology call. These physicians bring years of knowledge and expertise to the program.


“We are very pleased to launch our interventional cardiology program here at Coffee Regional Medical Center under the leadership of Dr. Glenn Evans. His expertise in cardiology will bring an invaluable service to Coffee County as well as to our neighboring communities,” says Vicki Lewis, CEO of Coffee Regional. “In partnership with our highly-skilled, dedicated staff of cardiologists, we look forward to bringing this new level of quality cardiovascular care to the communities we serve.”


This is a very exciting time for Coffee Regional Medical Center and the citizens of this community.  To better understand the importance of timely cardiac intervention, imagine you are holding your breath. It’s hard to do for a lengthy amount of time, right? When someone has a heart attack, most often without warning, an artery is being blocked of normal blood flow.  During this time, a person’s heart is being deprived of oxygen. Every second counts when it comes to opening that blocked artery. Heart muscle begins to die rapidly after a full blockage and the length of time a person goes without that vital oxygen-rich blood determines the amount of heart muscle/ tissue damage that is done. Often times, if a vessel is able to be reopened swiftly the patient can make an impressive & quick recovery, right here at home. The new PCI Program will allow the Interventional Cardiologist to place a stent along the walls of the blocked artery, restoring blood flow.  The procedure is minimally invasive and typically performed by placing a catheter in the artery percutaneously (through the skin) around the groin or wrist area. A catheter is pushed through the artery into the heart to diagnose any blockage. 


There will be times that the PCI procedure will reveal more severe cases of blockage and/or damage. In those cases, Coffee Regional will stabilize the patient and transfer them to the appropriate facility. 


Coffee Regional is proud to be able to offer this life-saving cardiac service. To schedule an appointment or learn more information about the Interventional Cardiology Program at Coffee Regional Medical Center, call Julie Peterson, Cardiac Cath Lab Director at 912-383-5697 or visit  www.coffeeregional.org/cardiology.

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