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Fallbrook Hospital to continue cardiac rehab dept. service to end of year
Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Issue 42, Volume 17.
The announcement was made to a handful of patients at the Fallbrook Healthcare District board meeting on Oct. 9.
"You all shared a concern to continue a service that we all agree is very helpful and vital," said district board president Stephen Abbott to the patients. "We sent a letter to the CEO of the hospital, and he very quickly responded, honoring our request to extend cardiac rehab care until the end of the year. Thatís pretty generous considering our lease agreement."
According to Abbott, the rehab program is "certainly a core program," even though it is not considered a vital program offered at the hospital.
"We are doing homework on the next step," said Abbott. The board is diligently trying to see what Plan B looks like. There are members actively engaged in research, and we will let the community know once we know something."
One of the patients involved in the program, John Watson, reminded the board of the depth of importance the program provides.
"The cardiac rehab has been operational for eight years, and the controlling documents of the lease should be amended so that the program is considered core," he said. "Fallbrook has an aging community that will need cardiac rehab."
Even though the program operates under cardiac care, itís actually a cardio wellness program and support group, said Watson.
"The exercise is the easy part," Watson explained. "We are under the watchful eye of the medical caregivers, but we also look after one another, evaluate other programs, and each otherís current state of wellness. No program can match the quality of the rehab center at Fallbrook Hospital. It has saved lives."
Watson further explained that the medical professionals involved in the rehab program have redirected certain patients to emergency care or to rest after cardiac treatment, depending on the patientsí individual needs.
"The cardiac rehab has made many catches that have saved lives, including two in the last month," he said. "The nurses and their assistants are essential, and need to know that they will have work beyond the 90 day horizon."
The patients suggested that in order to guarantee work for thenurses and medical assistants in the program, the Fallbrook Healthcare District should consider a grant to the hospital.
"The district will have the fastest response in bureaucratic terms," explained Watson. "We plan to pursue grants and are even willing to start new foundations to continue the program."
Claudia Watson, an active volunteer with the cardio rehab program, explained that the intervention and support given is at risk without career certainty for the nurses and medical personnel.
"We still have the concern that their livelihood has got to continue, and if they start looking for work, we will lose nurses, which are the core of the program," said Claudia. "We propose that the extension go beyond into 2014, giving us time to help [the healthcare district]."
Gordon Tinker, a healthcare district board member, stated that one of the main goals of the healthcare district is to keep the hospital running.
"The other is to try and meet the unmet needs of the community," he said.
"We donít pretend to have all the answers, but we certainly consider ourselves to be accessible," said Abbott. "It is all a matter of doing our homework and collecting solutions."
The boardís general counsel explained that it would be problematic to have a charitable organization make donations to a profit-making enterprise. However, it was made clear that entities could make donations to districts like the Fallbrook Healthcare District, which is considered tax exempt in the internal revenue code.
"As the board president alluded, there are discussions going on with a variety of different entities," said Blaise Jackson, legal counsel to the healthcare district. "We would like to give you more information, but do not want to compromise as they progress. We ask for your patience, and ask that you trust us, knowing that we are pursuing what we can."
The patients at the board meeting had a positive response to the news given at the meeting.
"At the last board meeting, there were a lot of cardiac patients here in a panic because of the pending closure of the programís operation," said Michael Roche, a patient of the cardiac program. "On behalf of the patients, we want to thank the board for hearing our plea and addressing it so expediently. We are very impressed, and it would be wonderful if Washington could follow suit."
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