Memorial closing Hixson cardiac rehab unit, consolidating services at main campus

Memorial closing Hixson cardiac rehab unit, consolidating services at main campus

May 16th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

After 15 years of operating a cardiac rehabilitation center at North Park Hospital in Hixson, CHI Memorial plans to close the Hixson facility next month and consolidate its cardiac rehab operations at the main hospital in Glenwood.

Despite concerns from many of the hundreds of patients who have used the North Park cardiac rehab center, Memorial spokeswoman Lisa McCluskey said the hospital determined the newer Guerry Heart and Vascular Center at Memorial's main campus "will allow for full utilization of a newer facility with the most advanced equipment and supportive technology."

McCluskey said all but one of the exercise physiologists in Hixson have indicated they will relocate to the Chattanooga campus, "providing our patients with familiarity of staff and continuity of care.

"Any other reductions were handled through attrition with existing vacancies," she said.

Memorial plans to close the North Park facility June 2, according to Ben Young of the CHI Memorial Hixson Cardiac Rehab unit.

But at a meeting last Thursday in Hixson, dozens of patients who use the Hixson facility voiced concerns about the consolidation plans.

"It will mean a lot more time and driving for those of us who live in Hixson and north Hamilton County and I'm afraid a lot of patients simply won't go regularly for rehab treatment if they have to go to the main hospital," said Tom Baker, a 72-year-old retiree who has used the cardiac rehab facility at North Park for the past couple of years after he had quadruple heart bypass surgery. "North Park is easy to get in and out of for those of us who regularly use the rehab unit, but it will be much more trouble for many of these patients to have to go to a bigger hospital in a different part of town."

McCluskey said the consolidation of the cardiac rehab units is part of Memorial's ongoing initiative to improve the efficiency of hospital operations.

"We initiated a continuous improvement model that ensures our resources are appropriately allocated for optimum service to our patients," she said. "In a post healthcare reform era where health care dollars are increasingly tight, this model has allowed us to attain high rankings in key metrics for quality, safety and patient satisfaction."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.