LMC Applies for Open Heart Surgery Approval

Lexington Medical Center filed a Certificate of Need (CON) request on Thursday, December 3, 2009 with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) for approval to perform open heart surgery and therapeutic cardiac catheterizations.

“It has been a priority of Lexington Medical Center for several years to make comprehensive cardiovascular care more accessible to the people of Lexington County,” said Mike Biediger, Lexington Medical Center President & CEO. “Approval of this request will allow us to address acute cardiac events in a more timely fashion, ultimately saving more lives.”

The CON request was made in conjunction with Providence Hospitals. Under the terms of an agreement reached with Providence Hospitals earlier this year, Lexington Medical Center is requesting approval for one open heart surgery suite and the authority to perform open heart surgery and therapeutic cardiac catheterizations. If DHEC approves the CON, Providence Hospitals will de-license one of its open heart surgery suites, allowing Lexington Medical Center to add a suite, in keeping with the state health plan.

“The ability to perform open heart surgery at Lexington Medical Center is necessary to enhance the delivery of health care in the Midlands,” said Thad Westbrook, Chairman on the Lexington Medical Center Board of Directors.

Lexington Medical Center operates the state’s second busiest Emergency Department, treating approximately 90,000 patients each year. It also operates the busiest diagnostic catheterization lab in South Carolina without a corresponding elective angioplasty or open heart surgery program. As a result, Lexington Medical Center has to transfer hundreds of patients each year to other hospitals for cardiac care.

If the CON is approved, Lexington Medical Center would create a space in its Surgery Department for an open heart surgery operating room. Post-surgery, heart patients would be cared for in critical care units with intensive cardiac and pulmonary monitoring capabilities. If Lexington Medical Center receives permission for open heart surgery by April 2010, the hospital could begin its open heart surgery program by early 2011.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease affects 1 in 3 Americans and accounts for 1 in 3 deaths in South Carolina each year. In addition, statistics show that more Lexington County residents required open heart surgery in 2007 than did Richland County residents. Lexington Medical Center recognizes that the need for a full service open heart program for the people of Lexington County has never been greater.

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