Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital gets state okay for heart procedure

TARPON SPRINGS — Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital announced Wednesday that it has received a state license to perform elective angioplasty procedures.

The news came on the heels of the mid-January opening of the hospital's state-of-the-art $1.2 million cardiac catheterization lab, said marketing manager Jerry Touchton.

"That catheterization lab is right up to speed in terms of having the latest equipment and software and capabilities and it really complements our other cath lab, which was opened when we started the emergency angioplasties in 2005," Touchton said.

Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed coronary arteries to improve blood flow to the heart. Emergency angioplasties are performed when a patient is having a heart attack. Elective angioplasties are performed during diagnostic cardiac catheterizations.

The new Level I license for elective angioplasties, provided by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, is the first step to becoming an open-heart surgery center, long a goal of hospital officials.

To qualify for the Level II license, which would allow for those surgeries, the hospital will be required to perform at least 1,000 cardiology procedures within a year, of which 400 must be angioplasty procedures.

Helen Ellis is on track to meet those numbers.

From October 2007 to September 2008, the hospital performed 711 cardiac cath lab procedures and 48 emergency angioplasties.

Hospital officials said they expect to perform at least 300 elective angioplasties this year, Touchton said.

"A year from now we could be applying for (the Level II)," said hospital CEO Don Evans.

So far, the hospital has already performed about 15 of the elective procedures, said Touchton.

The new procedures could bring in about $540,000 in additional revenue this year, which would help offset a small chunk of the hospital's projected budget shortfall of $9 million.

An outpatient angioplasty procedure usually brings about $7,300 in Medicare reimbursement; an inpatient, $10,000, said Touchton.

The impact will be much greater if the hospital meets the criteria to qualify for a license for open-heart surgeries. Evans estimated that could bring in additional revenue between $3.6 million and $4.2 million.

Rita Farlow can be reached at or (727) 445-4162.

Fast facts

What is an angioplasty?

Coronary angioplasty (AN-jee-oh-plas-tee) is a medical procedure in which a balloon is used to open a blockage in a coronary (heart) artery narrowed by atherosclerosis. This procedure improves blood flow to the heart. Often a metal tube — or stent — is inserted to hold open the artery.

Angioplasty is a common medical procedure. It may be used to reduce damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when blood flow through a coronary artery is completely blocked. Angioplasty is used during a heart attack to open the blockage and restore blood flow through the artery.

It can also be used to improve symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as angina and shortness of breath.

Source: National Institutes of Health.

Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital gets state okay for heart procedure 02/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 10:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared


    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  4. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  5. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.