$6M cardiovascular suite to open at Council Bluffs hospital

COUNCIL BLUFFS — In the world of heart and vascular medicine, health care providers know that time often is of the essence when treating patients.

Officials with Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs say a new $6 million cardiovascular suite that opens Monday will allow those providers to deliver more care — more efficiently — to patients in Council Bluffs and southwest Iowa, while still leaving room for growth.

The 5,700-square-foot suite, carved out of existing space between the hospital’s emergency room and radiology department, is larger than the current space and will bring staff members that are now scattered in different locations together in one place, said Marcia Keith, the hospital’s cardiovascular service leader.

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From left, Dr. Robert Armbruster, a cardiologist, speaks with Jennie Edmundson Hospital President and CEO Dave Burd and Marcia Keith, the hospital’s cardiovascular service leader, inside one of the hospital’s new catheterization labs Thursday.

The new space includes two larger catheterization labs, a minor procedure room, four patient care rooms, a private patient consultation room, a dedicated family waiting area and staff offices, locker room and break area. It also includes all new equipment.

“We felt like moving to a new space made the right sense,” said Keith, who has been with the cardiovascular program for 35 years.

Dave Burd, the hospital’s president and CEO, said Monday’s opening is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people who have the dedication and passion to do great things for the people they serve.

“It really reinforces Methodist Jennie Edmundson’s commitment to folks not only in Council Bluffs, but in our entire region in southwest Iowa,” he said, “… and to providing the highest quality of care specific to cardiovascular services that we possibly can.”

The project was funded by hospital and Methodist Health System dollars as well as a capital campaign through the Jennie Edmundson Foundation.

Keith said the team first moved into its current space in the 1980s. Technology has changed a lot since then, and the program had outgrown the smaller existing catheterization rooms. That restricted what the team could do for patients in terms of growth and offering new procedures.

Several groups involved in heart and vascular care work out of the space. The hospital added a new cardiologist last fall and an interventional radiologist about two weeks ago. “So we know there’s going to be growth there,” she said.

Through its outreach programs, the hospital works with smaller hospitals and clinics throughout a large — and largely rural — area of southwest Iowa. Hospital staff visit some of those locations, and they send patients who need a higher level of care to Jennie Edmundson.

The hospital also is a receiving program for patients suffering heart attacks. A dedicated transfer line, established about 10 years ago, connects directly to Jennie’s emergency room, streamlining the transfer process.

For heart attacks, the American Heart Association has set a gold standard of 90 minutes for clearing blockages, she said. So far in 2024, the hospital has an average “door-to-balloon” time of 45 minutes for local patients. For transfer patients, the gold standard is 120 minutes. The hospital currently is right at its internal goal of 100 minutes.

“Time is muscle when it comes to heart attacks,” Keith said.

The new suite will make work flow more efficient in a number of ways, she said. The new catheterization rooms, for instance, have exactly the same equipment. Each of the old ones have limitations, which can create conflicts in scheduling procedures.

Dr. Robert Armbruster, a cardiologist, said the old rooms were crowded. The larger ones will allow the team to bring in more technologies, including new pumps. And having supplies within the suite means he won’t have to send someone running when he needs something.

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Dr. Robert Armbruster, a cardiologist, shows off features inside one of Jennie Edmundson Hospital’s catheterization labs in the hospital’s new cardiovascular suite Thursday.

“We’re going to have access to a lot of tools, a lot of equipment,” he said. “We’re going to move fast.”

Burd, the hospital’s CEO, said the upgrade helps position the program for the future.

“When you combine the strong and phenomenal medical staff and team that we have at Jennie Edmundson, now with the investment in the new cardiovascular suite, we are positioned to grow and … to meet the community’s needs for many years to come,” Burd said.


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