Cardiac-rehab program cut for some patients

Fewer cardiac-rehabilitation patients will be eligible to use an exercise program offered by Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare starting next week.

Restructuring of the exercise program will ensure that more critical needs patients have access to an exercise room that is monitored by medical professionals, according to the hospital.

The new cardiac surgery program offered at the hospital has significantly increased the number of moderate- and high-risk patients who need to use the exercise facility, according to hospital spokeswoman Cheri Glockner. This change will ensure that these patients have access to the program, which is located in the Carson Mall.

Those low-risk cardiac and pulmonary patients who have used the exercise program following their surgery or heart attack will have to find other places to exercise.

Kathi Giurlani said the program helped her husband recover after his quadruple bypass seven years ago. Even though he's low risk for heart complications while exercising, he has continued to attend the program three days a week.

"It teaches them how to breath and different ways to conserve oxygen," she said.

"My husband has been going for seven years, and he's developed a bond over the years with others who go. He said it was very quiet (Monday).

"It kind of took the wind out of our sails," said the Carson City woman.

Her 66-year-old husband will go to Silver State Fitness, which has more equipment, but not the medical personnel if something goes wrong.

"It's funny that they've built this big new hospital and it seems they should be providing more programs rather than less," Giurlani said.

Giurlani said they're worried that friends who used the program will just stop going rather than look for a new fitness center. They found a gym that offers unlimited visits for less than what they were paying to the hospital program.

The $132 million Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center opened in North Carson City in December, after operating in a downtown hospital since 1949.

Carson Tahoe announced late last month that it was eliminating some programs and about 50 jobs to cut costs and consolidate management.

The cost-cutting measures were needed to put the hospital in a better financial position after a costly move to the North Carson City campus and several months of lower-than-expected patient counts, the hospital chief executive officer had said.

Giurlani said she was told money wasn't a factor in cutting low-risk patients like her husband out of the program.

The hospital still increased the cost of the program to those who can continue to attend and cut back the hours.

The program had cost $36 for 12 visits a month, which was three times a week. It has been changed to $40 for eight visits, which is twice a week. The program will be open from 7 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Starting July 10, the hospital exercise program will only be open to moderate- and high-risk patients, which requires a physician's referral.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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