By Erika Z. Byrd
Desert Regional Medical Center is home to an award-winning team of physicians, nurses, and skilled staff in a wide array of cardiovascular treatments to heal the hearts of Coachella Valley patients.
Desert Regional’s program has received advanced certification in the treatment of heart failure by The Joint Commission, the foremost hospital accrediting body in the United States. The American Heart Association also has honored the hospital with its “Get With The Guidelines” awards in three areas of cardiovascular care: heart failure, stroke, and resuscitation.
A designated trauma center, Desert Regional also is an official STEMI Receiving Center with special protocols for the treatment of heart attacks. Desert Regional also has some of the latest technology for elective heart procedures, including the valley’s first Stereotaxis Robotic Navigation system for precise treatment of atrial fibrillation and other heart arrhythmias.
Michael Garnet, 73, of Palm Desert, had a heart ablation procedure at Desert Regional for atrial fibrillation by Hetal Bhakta, MD, medical director of electrophysiology. Garnet’s first treatment at another facility was not successful. Garnet then learned about Dr. Bhakta and Desert Regional’s state-of-the-art robotic equipment.
“This procedure and Dr. Bhakta’s talent have been life changing,” said Garnet. “I’m back to running and it’s awesome. Dr. Bhakta told me I can go live my normal life and that’s just what I’m doing.”
Consistently recognized for meeting or exceeding national guidelines for excellence in heart care, the cardiovascular team is focused on improving the continuum of care. To further this goal, Desert Regional created a new position this past fall – a dedicated heart failure nurse to meet with patients and to follow up with them at home to ensure they are taking their medication. The hospital also established a 24-hour hotline to answer cardiac patient questions, hosts a community cardiac support group, and offers a medically supervised on-site rehabilitation gym for cardiac patients.
“This enhanced communication has reduced readmission by almost half from 20 percent to 12 percent as of February,” said Philip Koovakada, MSN, MSHCA, the hospital’s director of cardiovascular services. Koovakada noted that the nationwide average for readmission of heart failure patients is 23 percent. “We are fine-tuning our program and seeing a direct correlation with positive outcomes.”
1150 N. Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262