Heart Healthy Help


Intermountain’s new cardiology clinic makes cardiovascular specialties easily accessible and closer to home

   Utah Valley patients have too often resigned themselves to traveling 45 minutes to visit a cardiologist. If they wanted someone closer to home, they often had to wait weeks to make an appointment with a local cardiologist and still had to travel for many of the cardiology subspecialists.

   However, Intermountain has now added a cardiology clinic — Intermountain Heart Institute — seeing patients in Provo and American Fork, with a full-time interventional cardiologist, making local treatment easier to find.

   Dr. James Feeney was born and raised in San Francisco and practiced cardiology there for more than 30 years. However, a proposed “vacation” home in Heber City and a chance encounter with Intermountain Healthcare officials turned his vacation home into his primary home.

   “I was interested in finding some side work or something part-time here,” Dr. Feeney says. “But, one night I was eating at The Hideout Steakhouse on Highway 40 in Heber City and the owner started talking to me. After hearing my story, he suggested I call his brother.”

   The restaurant owner’s brother was Dr. Marc Harrison, CEO of Intermountain Healthcare.

   From there, Dr. Feeney eventually took a full-time job — closing the practice his father started — to start an Intermountain cardiology clinic based in Utah Valley.

   “I was excited at the thought of building this from scratch,” Dr. Feeney says. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve found people to be extremely helpful. They are well-trained and smart. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

   Dr. Feeney is joined at the clinic by Dr. Kent Meredith, a fellow interventional cardiologist who primarily works at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, and Tavia Mathers, a nurse practitioner with expertise in cardiology, general surgery, bariatrics, and cardiac stress testing.

   Dr. Meredith’s Utah Valley roots made him excited to jump in and help the clinic get off the ground.

   “I grew up in Payson and went to Payson High,” Dr. Meredith says. “I always knew if Intermountain opened something like this down here, I wanted to be part of it.”

   While Dr. Feeney is the primary physician seeing patients at the new clinic, Dr. Meredith assists and covers on-call time to give Dr. Feeney support.

   However, Dr. Meredith’s participation in the clinic is also symbolic of the strength that comes from working with Intermountain.

   “This clinic also gives Utah Valley residents access to the full cardiology services Intermountain has to offer,” Dr. Meredith says. “It is designed to bring all of the advanced tertiary and quaternary care of the flagship down here. Patients have access to the subspecialists and we work together to provide the best care possible.”

   Plus, patients benefit from streamlined care and communication by keeping their treatment within the Intermountain Healthcare umbrella.

   “We’re able to access information quickly,” Dr. Feeney says. “If someone is taking medication, we can easily look up what they are taking, how much they are taking and, whether there are stents in place. It really makes things easier.”

   At the heart of the matter, though, is the level of care. Dr. Feeney appreciates the opportunity working with Intermountain Healthcare gives him to focus on patients.

   “When you’re in private practice, you’re really a small business owner that has to dedicate a lot of time to keeping the lights on, paying bills and keeping patients coming in the door,” he says. “It’s refreshing to practice in an environment, and with an organization, that let’s me focus on patient care.”

   Both Dr. Feeney and Dr. Meredith are interventional cardiologists, which means they perform catheter-based heart disease treatment. They also work to medically treat cardiovascular illness and are expert resources for the long-term health of patients, including early intervention and education.

   “Our culture doesn’t promote lifestyle choices that lead someone to have a healthy heart for their whole life,” Dr. Meredith says. “We get to middle age and older middle age and we start to see some of the factors rise — cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, diabetes — and our country’s healthcare system has been geared toward treating the problems instead of educating people about how to avoid the problems. We look to change that.”

   And more time and access to a skilled cardiologist means more time and access to loved ones and favorite hobbies. And now that access is close to home.


Medical Tip

   Take your own health seriously. The best way to enjoy long-term health is for the patient to work with the physician.

   “It’s a contract between the patient and the physician,” says Dr. James Feeney. “Each works to do their best to get the best outcome. However, it can’t be just one side trying to do it all. People need to be responsible for their own health.”


What is interventional cardiology?

   “Interventional cardiology is an area of medicine within the subspecialty of cardiology that uses specialized imaging and other diagnostic techniques to evaluate blood flow and pressure in the coronary arteries and chambers of the heart, as well as technical procedures and medications to treat abnormalities that impair the function of the cardiovascular system.

   Interventional cardiology is the subspecialty of cardiology that deals specifically with the catheter-based treatment of heart diseases. The field includes the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease, vascular disease and acquired structural heart disease. For pediatric interventional cardiologists, congenital heart defects are the major focus of diagnosis and treatment.

   Interventional cardiology has grown to bridge many specialties, which were traditionally seen as somewhat isolated from one another. For example, endovascular techniques mastered within the small-caliber and bifurcating coronary artery vessels of a beating heart in a conscious patient can be applied in larger vessels within immobile organs, especially when procedures are done under sedation or anesthesia.”

Source: American Medical Association website


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