Wednesday, December 31, 2014 12:00 AM

Successful pilot expands access to heart care statewide

Clovis Community Medical Center’s successful participation in a state pilot program with six hospitals has resulted in a new California law that now allows hospitals to become certified to perform certain elective, non-emergency cardiac catheterizations without having open heart surgery programs on site. For many patients that means avoiding significant travel for medical treatment while providing continuity of care with their local physicians.

Clovis Community was one of six hospitals chosen by the state for a three-year study on the effectiveness and safety of elective percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) – a non-emergency procedure to insert balloons and possibly expandable stents to open blocked coronary arteries. Prior to the pilot program and the new law, hospitals like Clovis Community could do emergency stenting, but not elective, scheduled procedures.

The state study determined the pilot program was extremely successful with Clovis Community having the lowest mortality rate of all participating hospitals and the fastest healing times for its patients.

Cardiologists say this study is long overdue and is really about accessibility and convenience. “There’s really been a push to let hospitals like Clovis which has an emergency room and an ICU and have been doing emergency stents for 20-some years without a surgeon, to go ahead do the elective angiogram cases,” said Dr. Rohit Sundrani, the lead cardiologist for the Clovis study.

California now joins more than 40 other states making these non-emergency cardiac services more accessible to patients and physicians.

Reported by Erin Kennedy and John Taylor. They can be reached at