Heart Care Back At Blodgett

April 9, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — A cardiac catheterization laboratory is one of several services Spectrum Health is considering adding at its Blodgett Campus, a spokesman said last week.

Spectrum Health has filed a letter of intent and an application as part of the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Certificate of Need process. In the letter of intent, cost is estimated at $1.34 million, including $300,000 for renovation and remodeling and $770,000 for catheterization and imaging equipment.

Spokesman Bruce Rossman said Spectrum Health officials are uncertain whether they’ll actually proceed with installation of a cardiac catheterization lab at the Blodgett Campus.

“The final decision has not yet been made as to whether we will actually build and maintain a catheterization lab there,” Rossman said. “Because of the process and time required to get a CON approved, we wanted to have that request in process, so that if we do decide to do that, we can bring that project to fruition sooner rather than later.”

He said he expects a final decision in one to two months.

No beds would be added to the 295 now at Blodgett, Spectrum stated in its letter of intent. The proposal is to renovate 1,000 square feet on the second floor of the East Grand Rapids hospital.

“We are looking at upgrading and adding some additional services at Blodgett. This is part of that proposal,” said Rossman, who declined to reveal any other services that may be added at the Blodgett Campus. “Blodgett is still part of Spectrum Health’s long-range plans. We need the capacity there.”

Rossman said a new cardiac catheterization lab at the Blodgett Campus would perform diagnostic procedures, with emergency catheterization for heart attack patients directed to the Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center. The center has eight cardiac catheterization labs.

“Right now, if we have a patient here for any kind of procedure, say a joint replacement, and they may have some other additional problems such as heart problems, they have to come to the Butterworth Campus,” Rossman said. “If we install a cath lab at Blodgett, people at the Joint Replacement Center or people coming to the emergency department with a heart-related condition could be treated there. We can also utilize the bed space and capacity at Blodgett.”

According to Spectrum Health’s Web site, the first cardiac catheterization lab at Blodgett opened in 1985, with the first angioplasty performed there in 1988. Catheterization services were moved to the Meijer Heart Center on the Butterworth Campus when it opened in 2004.

Cardiac catheterization involves threading a thin tube through an artery in the leg or groin to the heart or the coronary blood vessels, according to the American Heart Association. Blood pressure within the heart, as well as blood oxygen levels and pumping ability, can be measured. Also, dye may be injected into the coronary arteries to provide contrast on imaging. If a medical balloon is attached to the tip, the catheterization can be used for angioplasty, in which blockages are pushed aside to make room for blood flow.

CON regulations demand that a cardiac catheterization lab in Kent County would perform at least 750 procedures during its second 12 months of existence. For a hospital to offer two cardiac cath labs, each must perform at least 1,000 procedures per year by the second year of operation.

Spectrum Health’s Web site estimates average hospital charges for cardiac catheterization, left side, at $9,427. An angioplasty to clear blocked arteries is estimated at an average $26,774, and an angioplasty to place a drug-coated stent at $27,162.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported last year that Spectrum Health performed 1,025 angioplasties with drug-coated stent insertions on Medicare patients in fiscal year 2005. The middle range of the average Medicare payment for the procedure is $15,028 to $15,166.

Blodgett houses a rehabilitation program for cardiac patients, a heart failure clinic and a pacemaker optimization clinic. Other services there include the Regional Burn Center, the Betty Ford Diagnostic Breast Center, Center for Joint Replacement, Digestive Disease Services, bariatrics program, general medical-surgical services, intensive care unit and an emergency department.

Spectrum Health spent $7.5 million on improvements and renovations at the Blodgett Campus after most heart-related services were moved to the Meijer Heart Center.

Meanwhile, Metro Health Hospital is applying for CON approval to install a second cardiac catheterization lab at its new hospital in Wyoming. The hospital’s letter of intent shows a cost of $2 million, including $1.77 million to lease equipment for 60 months. Some renovation would be required to place a second lab next to one that was previously approved for Metro Health Hospital.

Spokeswoman Ellen Bristol said a 20 percent increase in medical staff over the past two years is increasing demand for time in the cardiac cath lab.

“A second cardiac catheterization lab ensures we can continue to see patients in a timely fashion,” Bristol said.

She said the lab at the Boston Street hospital will move to Metro Health’s new hospital in Wyoming this fall. Unfinished space at the new hospital would be converted for the second cardiac catheterization unit.   

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