Enhanced Cardiac Access
Providing immediate treatment to patients experiencing cardiac symptoms
Capital Cardiology Associates Enhanced Cardiac Access is available at our Albany and Clifton Park locations. On a recent episode of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates, I was joined by Dr. Jeffrey Uzzilia to discuss the significance of the ECA. “The ECA is one of the best things we have ever done at CCA,” announced Uzzilia. “Years ago we had been talking about ways to better connect with patients, more directly, and provide better access for cardiology care. We know that it’s frustrating for patients that feel like they have a problem and want to be seen, but then trying to navigate the medical system can be difficult.”
Doctor driven health care
For those experiencing a heart attack a trip to the emergency room can be almost as traumatic as the condition you are seeking treatment. In 2015 The National Center for Health Services, part of the CDC, reported almost 140 million emergency room visits that year. The data shows that only 35.4% of visits patents were seen in fewer than 15 minutes. Emergency rooms typically triage patients by the severity of their injury, illness, or medical condition. Patients with cardiac events, like heart attack or stroke, are usually given high priority. Even with this assurance, as a study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine shows emergency rooms are flooded with patients who are without access to healthcare, health insurance, or preventative care. Overall an ER visit is an experience most of us would rather avoid if possible.
Medical bills are also a detraction for people to seek treatment or avoid an emergency room visit. The Healthcare Bluebook quotes $762 to $2,929 or more for a emergency room visit for a severe problem. The cost of basic health care is a massive financial burden patients experience after an ER visit or hospital stay. The Patients’ Perspectives on Health Care survey conducted in 2016 indicated that health care costs cause serious financial problems for more than a quarter of Americans, more than 40% of whom report spending all or most of their personal savings on large medical bills.
Dr. Uzzilia noted that in comparison to an emergency room visit, ECA patients see a much lower bill. “I would say the vast majority of those patients never see the inside of a hospital. They pay for just an office visit, reducing the cost of the patient’s care because they never need the inpatient stay, they don’t need the emergency room, they don’t need multiple physicians. Their evaluation and treatment is all in one place with one team.”
When It’s Your Heart, It Just Can’t Wait
If you are a heart disease patient, have a family history of heart disease, or have engaged in unhealthy activity or lifestyle choices (like smoking cigarettes) you should talk with your doctor about your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Even with a firm understanding of your risk, some of us miss the warning signs of a cardiac event. Uzzilia noted,”there are a lot of things out there that give you an idea of what the symptoms of heart attack might be, but sometimes they don’t follow the textbook.” The classic symptoms of chest pain radiating to the arm with shortness of breath, nausea and sweating. “But everybody is different in how they experience these symptoms,” shared Uzzilia. “Classically women and patients with diabetes will have different symptoms. Sometimes there is no chest pain at all. They may feel fatigue or a profusely sweat. Sometimes they have discomfort in their jaw, back, or arm. We actually say a patient recently who was going for elbow surgery; she was being cleared by her primary care physician when they noticed her EKG didn’t look right. They sent her over to us and it turned out that she was having a heart attack. She needed a stent in one of her coronary arteries. She never needed elbow surgery. Her elbow pain went away — that was her presenting symptom. Very usual but she did have diabetes. Fortunately for her, that primary care physician did a great job of getting her to us quickly and we were able to address her real problem which was her heart.”
Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.