Yesterday I had the honor of speaking about cardiac health and rehab to an engaging group of Mended Hearts® members at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California. This was my second invitation to the Oakland chapter (#188) which meets one Saturday a month and I was pleasantly surprised by the hospital’s new look since my last visit.
However, what still hasn’t changed is that Kaiser does not offer cardiac rehabilitation to all their heart patients. The only accessible rehabilitation in Northern California is in Vallejo and San Francisco. Kaiser cardiologists prescribe “walking” to their patients — but for how long, how fast, how often for optimal results? Also, if you have ever participated in a outpatient cardiac rehab program, you’ve experienced the benefits of doing more than just walking.
NOTE: I learned that if you’re a Kaiser patient, you can participate in a non-Kaiser cardiac rehab program depending on your particular Kaiser plan AND if you’re on Medicare. If you’re looking for rehab options, check with your provider and also inquire about the co-pay. It’s also important to note that Medicare has stringent criteria that must be met for them to cover the costs (e.g., the time between your cardiac event to when you start cardiac rehab), so don’t wait too long to inquire.
Mended Hearts, Inc. is a national non-profit cardiac support group that is dedicated to inspiring hope, offering encouragement, and improving the quality of life for heart patients, their families and caregivers. The organization was started by Dr. Dwight E. Harken, a heart surgeon, with three of his open heart surgery patients in January 1951.
Over 60 years later, there are 300 Mended Hearts® chapters in the U.S. and Canada where heart patients meet monthly for ongoing social, emotional and practical support. They are partners with over 460 hospitals and rehabilitation clinics. Mended Hearts offers services to heart patients through visiting programs, support group meetings and educational forums.