East Alabama Medical Center’s cardiology department has become a major line of service for the hospital over the past few years.
It, along with Auburn Cardiovascular Associates, East Alabama Heart and Vascular, and Valley Cardiology, have joined together to form Pinnacle Cardiovascular Associates. The unified services were celebrated Friday morning with the groundbreaking for a facility coming to Opelika.
As vice president of clinical services at EAMC, one of the areas that Chris Clark has operational responsibility for is the cardiology department.
Once deciding to merge with the additional three cardiovascular practices, he has been working with the physicians, clinic administrators and managers to develop the layout of a facility that will best serve patients and physicians.
“It’s huge for just a standpoint of streamlining our services,” Clark said. “Just from the patient’s perspective of being able to go to the doctor, if the doctor thinks you’d be a great candidate for surgery or you need to meet with the (electrophysiologist) physician, it can all happen in the same visit.”
Plans for facility
Current plans for the facility include a full staff of cardiac specialists, such as general cardiologists, an electrophysiologist physician and cardiovascular surgeon.
While the goal is for all diseases and ailments to be taken care of in-house, for more invasive procedures like heart catheters, patients will have to visit EAMC.
There will be 24 exam rooms, a clinic and lobby area on the first floor, whereas the second floor will be home to more clerical duties, office spaces and medical records.
The new practice will feature a Cerner electronic medical record system, the same system used at EAMC, so that the physicians will all be able to have the same records on file.
“It has been an endeavor that we have had for many years to bring several of the factions of the cardiology and cardiothoracic community together to provide excellent healthcare for citizens of Lee and surrounding counties,” said Dr. Barry G. Crowe, the surgeon for Pinnacle Cardiovascular Associates.
Part of bigger goal
Dr. Michael Williams, who recently retired from practicing and will stay on in an administrative role with the Pinnacle Cardiovascular Associates, said the development of this facility is part of a much bigger goal.
“This is part of an ongoing project to push our cardiology program to a true center of excellence. That’s our ultimate goal, is to have a national standing as a center of excellence for the delivery of cardiovascular care,” he said.
The facility will be at 2601 Village Professional Drive near the new cancer center in Opelika.