Soon, Lawrence Memorial Hospital will have its own cardiology practice — and be able to handle heart attack patients every day of the year.
On Nov. 1, Cardiovascular Consultants, a Kansas City, Mo.-based practice, will sever its 15-year tie with Lawrence. However, four cardiologists from that group will remain in Lawrence and form an LMH-affiliated practice — Cardiovascular Specialists of Lawrence.
When Cardiovascular Consultants decided to pull out of Lawrence, it was clear its departure would leave a vacuum.
So four physicians — Roger Dreiling, Michael Hajdu, John Hiebert and Michael Zabel — decided to become LMH employees.
“We’d rather stay in Lawrence,” said Dreiling, who for the last year has handled LMH emergency cases and is on-call 24 hours a day.
On Dec. 1, a fifth doctor will join the group. Like Dreiling, Dr. Tapas “Joey” Ghose is an interventional cardiologist, who can handle emergencies, putting in stents and performing angioplasties. So the hospital will have a sufficient number of cardiologists to handle care locally, reducing the number of patients sent to Kansas City hospitals.
That’s good news for patients, Dreiling said, because heart attacks are like babies — “they come at any time.”
LMH President and CEO Gene Meyer said he’s hopeful the transition for patients is seamless.
“It will allow for this group of cardiologists, many of whom are the same ones who have been here anyway, to remain based in Lawrence to provide consistent coverage and probably better coverage for our patients,” Meyer said.
“There are going to be some things that we can’t do in Lawrence, and we’ll arrange for patients to be treated where its most appropriate.”