PERRY Co., Ky. (WYMT) - Health officials throughout Kentucky said cardiovascular disease is very prominent in the Appalachian region and as medical care evolves new methods are necessary.
Physicians said this is what sparked their new partnership between the University of Kentucky and community health care providers.
Dr. Edward Setser said the University of Kentucky's Gill Heart Institute in Perry County is a tertiary center.
The facility assists patients with care not available in regional centers.
"We utilize our resources so much more effectively to be able to deliver state of the art health care," said Setser. "Not just in major cities, but in hospitals like the ARH in Hazard."
Officials said the new partnership between Appalachian Regional Healthcare network and Appalachian Heart Center means more patients will have access to specialty care without traveling to Lexington.
"It's difficult for most people to drive two hours up the road," said Setser. "Then it's not just the patient, it's the family and then if the patient is hospitalized up there the family has to find a place to stay and it's a hardship."
Dr. Michael Karpf is the UK executive vice president for health affairs.
Karpf said providing good cardiac management is the only way to solve the health care problems facing this country.
"Someone with a cardiac problem, someone who may have chess pain, who may need an operation or a stint can get that done in a timely manner that will save as much heart as possible," said Karpf.
As director of the program in Hazard Setser said program officials have a vision for health care in Kentucky.
"One of our motto's is all of us is smarter than one of us," said Setser. "So truly it's a cooperative endeavor and it's just begun."
He hopes other states use this program as a model.
The partnership includes ARH facilities in Harlan, Whitesburg, McDowell, Hyden and South Williamson.