The Significance of Critical Access Hospitals

The Significance of Critical Access Hospitals

‘Critical’ – everyone reading this probably realizes that when we hear the word critical we associate it with something being important.  Therefore, calling designated small hospitals in rural areas ‘Critical Access Hospitals’ is suitable. Located in rural America, they serve patients that are not close to Regional Medical Centers. But distance does not make these American’s healthcare any less important. Critical Access Hospitals, ensure that these citizens have quality healthcare available in a timely manner.

CAH facilities are there for emergencies, where patients can be treated and then released or stabilized and moved to an institution that can provide the necessary care.  Having the local emergency staff saves lives daily.

It is often said that prevention is the best medicine… having rural healthcare available allows patients to see their physician for regular visits where disease can be diagnosed early.  Without these facilities, patients would most likely forego traveling hours for these routine check-ups.  Missing these simple but important visits means when the patients do look for care they tend to be more dire cases that require an elevated level of care.  The availability of these hospitals and providers locally not only benefits the patient’s health, but is a financial win for both the patient and our healthcare system.

HeartCare Imaging, INC (HCI) is dedicated to working with CAH and other rural hospitals to serve patients while enhancing the facilities viability.  At HCI, many of our senior manager are from rural America, we understand and love working with our neighbors!



Senate Bill Seeks to Reduce Restrictions on Telemedicine.

Senate Bill Seeks to Reduce Restrictions on Telemedicine. 


“The bill, the Evidence-Based Telehealth Expansion Act of 2017, was introduced late last week and would give the Health and Human Services secretary the authority to waive Medicare restrictions on the kinds of telemedicine it covers — as long as the actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concludes it would indeed save money.”


To read more about this exciting legislation visit:




HCI is a Modern Healthcare “Best Places to Work 2017” Winner!

Modern Healthcare is the leader in healthcare business news, research and data.

This is their 10th year honoring workplaces throughout the healthcare industry that empowers employees to provide patients and customers with the best possible care, products and services.

We will be attending the Sept 28th awards dinner in Las Vegas during Modern Healthcare’s

annual Workplace of the Future conference.


Preventing a Heart Attack with Key Lifestyle Changes

Preventing a Heart Attack with Key Lifestyle Changes

Did you know your heart is about the same size as a pear? Your heart pumps blood through the body, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other types waste. You want the best for your heart.

A heart attack is a very serious medical condition that affects not only you but your entire family. This is why we advise you to step up and take control. Here are some healthy changes to help prevent a heart attack:

  1. Keep tabs on your blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the higher the risk of a heart attack. Stress management, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help manage your blood pressure. The optimal blood pressure level is 120/80 mmHg.
  2. Keep track of your blood sugar. Too much sugar in your blood can cause damage to your arteries, even if you don’t have diabetes. If you have not had your blood sugar checked, make an appointment with your doctor. He/She can educate you on how to control your levels. You can’t tell if you have high blood sugar or diabetes based on how you feel.
  3. Mind your cholesterol levels. Too much cholesterol in your blood can create a build up of plaque in your arteries. This is how heart attacks can happen. Consult a doctor for more information on your cholesterol levels.
  4. Eat healthy. Variety in your diet is a great way to get all the nutrient you need. Add plenty of fruits and vegetables, grains and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids to your daily consumption. Eat less salt, sweets and red meats. Avoid trans fats and anything bleached.
  5. Exercise frequently. Regular exercise can help you lose weight, prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels. So get out there and work that body! Ask your doctor where your weight should be and how to get there.
  6. Manage your stress effectively. Stress can put enormous pressure on your heart. It can also negatively influence your everyday habits by making you overeat, start smoking or smoke more often. These habits are all harmful to your heart. Therefore, we recommend you find a relaxation mode. Yoga, meditation and dedicated unwind time is important to your overall health.
  7. Ask about aspirin. Talk with your doctor about taking an aspirin every day. In some people, this reduces the risk of heart attack.
  8. Be social. Stay in touch with your friends and family. Research shows that people with more social support are less prone to heart trouble. As you grow your network and make new friends, know that you might be good for their heart health too.  



Visions of TeleHealth Danced in their Heads

As we mentioned in our April 2017 HCI spotlight (if you missed it you can view it here)  telehealth (aka: telemedicine) means different things to different people, and they’re all correct. So, what is telehealth? The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines telehealth as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.

This sounds very high-tech and futuristic right? Well, not exactly. While many aspects of telehealth are not yet being fully utilized, some are commonplace. The first example of telehealth that pops into my head as widely accepted is the use of distance reading by radiologists. Another is device interrogations. Remember the days when patients had to come into the cardiology office to have their pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) interrogated? With the guidelines stating follow up every 3-6 months that meant patients had to drive all the way to the cardiologists office simply to have their device checked. Now, many patients opt to have their device remotely monitored, sometimes on a daily basis with unscheduled transmissions for any pre-defined physician alerts, all from the comfort of their home. This avoids unnecessary in-clinic visits, and (in my opinion) increases the quality of care.

But this isn’t the limit of telehealth.  It can provide far greater services than the ones that are already widely used. Some insurance providers are now allowing their users to have access to primary care physicians via video conferencing. This produces anytime access to physicians, meaning at times that are convenient to the patients.

One way HCI is looking forward to utilizing telehealth is to provide access to specialists in rural communities.  As many of our follower know, HCI is dedicated to the rural healthcare market.  One problem we see is lack of specialists in these areas. Patients are asked to drive, sometimes hours, to get the care they need from a cardiologist. Usually this causes the patients to forego care because they cannot afford to take the day off of work, spend the money on gas, or some simply don’t have the means of transportation.  We are excited to see the benefits that telehealth can bring to these patients. Our patients. The underserved patients.

If you are interested in learning more, please click here for an article on the barriers faced by telehealth that we recently posted on our Facebook page.



Physician and Professional Growth

Lets face it, in today’s rapid paced society it is hard to find the time to take away from daily life and career to dedicate to a week (or even multi-week) long course to advance your career. Whether you are a fellow or a physician preparing to take the Certification Board of Nuclear Cardiology exam, or need the training required by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to become an Authorized User on your practice’s Radioactive Materials License, or even a Nuclear Medicine technologist seeking the necessary classroom training to become a Radiation Safety Officer, we have found the solution for you.

Health & Radiological Seminars, Inc. provides online courses taught by industry leading experts. Courses offer the latest radiation safety curriculum, satisfy NRC 10CFR 35 and is accepted by the NRC and agreement states, as well as meet CBNC exam eligibility requirements!

The best part is that this course is 100% online, so you can go at your own pace. Finally a program that works around a working professional’s schedule. Once you have completed registration and paid your tuition, you will receive a user ID and password by email that will grant you access to your personal Learning Management Center. As you successfully complete each module, the next one is made available. You can start and stop at any time, allowing you to fit the course in on lunch breaks, in between patients, or just an hour or two each night until it is complete.

To check out a list of prestigious universities and medical centers that have trusted HRSI with the radiation safety education of their staff for more than 30 years, click here.

For a list of the Faculty and to view their credentials, click here.

If you would like more information, or to register for a course, please contact:

550 Highland St., Suite 100 | Frederick MD 21701

800-969-4774 | Fax: 724-871-5568 | email:



The 18th Annual Kentucky Rural Health Association Conference

HCI will be attending The 18th Annual KRHA. This year’s conference is being held at WKU Knicely Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky on August 25 and 26th.  Please stop by our booth and say hi to James, Stacey and Kim. See you there!

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The importance of a watchful eye

In the day to day operations of a nuclear stress lab, stressing six to eight patients a day may start to get a little monotonous.  Whether it be a chemical stress or a treadmill, it is the same routine.  Prep the skin, put the patches on, explain the test… same thing day in and day out.  It is very easy to become jaded by the “normalcy” we typically experience. But, what happens when it isn’t the same?  What happens when the routine suddenly isn’t so routine anymore?

There are many practices that will toss just anyone into the lab to monitor or “supervise” a stress test.  It’s okay, there is a doctor in the building, right? Wrong! A subtle change in the ECG can indicate something major.  What happens when that subtle change goes unnoticed or unrecognized?

As a rule of thumb, the person directly supervising (meaning-in the room, actively watching the ECG) should be ACLS certified and trained on ECG interpretation.

It is also a great idea for any other member of the stress team that is in the room during a stress test (ie: nuclear technologist, echo technologist, CNA, LPN, MA, etc.) to at least have a basic knowledge of ECG patterns, ST segment elevation and depression, as well as fatal rhythms.

ECGs can change without warning. It is imperative that the staff are on the lookout for any change and that they are knowledgeable about what that change can mean.

When the routine isn’t routine anymore, will you and your staff be prepared?

Here are two blog posts that are informative and interesting, but also very entertaining that we would like to share. 

STEMI – MI ECG pattern    and   ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation


How Old–or Young–is your Heart?

Dr. Jason Guichard presents this blog post to help determine one’s estimated “heart age”.

In his blog he writes “If the age of your heart is older than your actual age, you are at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Heart age simplifies the evaluation of heart risk and, hopefully, motivates more people to start and continue heart-healthy lifestyle changes.”

What you need to determine your heart’s age is the following:

  1. Systolic blood pressure
  2. BMI

Once you have these items, you can go to the “Heart Age” Calculator and answer a few simple questions. With a tap of the “calculate” button, voila! You now know your “Heart Age”.

Are  you on the right track to keep your heart young?


The Heart of Haiti: A Pure Soul from Tortured Soil

A special editorial on Dr. Alexandra Lucas in partnership with the University of Florida’s on their medical mission to help those in need of services in Fort Liberte (Fte Liberte), Haiti.

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