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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue Opens Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, Part of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness Program, the First in the NYC Municipal Health Care System

The new Cardiac Rehab Program takes a multi-faceted approach to helping patients who have experienced a cardiac procedure or are at risk, including medication management, healthy eating and exercising under the supervision of our clinical team

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Center is the latest addition to our award-winning Cardiology Department, boasting the first ECMO treatment program in a public hospital in the United States

Feb 13, 2023

New York, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue today announced the opening of its Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, part of the new Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness Program, the first in the NYC municipal health care system. The Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness Program began during the COVID-19 pandemic as a telehealth initiative to help homebound patients stay healthy by maintaining a standard level of care. Now available in-person and hybrid, the program takes a multi-faceted approach to help hospitalized patients and outpatients who have recently undergone a cardiac procedure, such as an angioplasty and stent placement or valve surgery, or cardiac event, such as a heart attack, or are at risk because of symptoms such as high blood pressure, heart failure or diabetes.

Patients are supervised by a team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, physiologists and physical therapists, who counsel them on achieving beneficial lifestyle changes through interventions, therapies and overall wellness techniques, including medication management, healthy eating behaviors, exercise routines, and stress reduction.

The new rehab center is equipped with the latest treadmills, stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, free weights and ergometers to improve upper-body strength. Prior to beginning an exercise program, patients are evaluated, and individualized plans are developed. To ensure safety, the patient wears a heart rate monitor, and a clinician is present to measure the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure during each exercise session. All exercise elements are tailored to improve patients’ cardiovascular health according to their needs and abilities.

“Bellevue’s Cardiology Department showed agility and innovation under the incredible pressure and constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic – developing a telehealth cardiac rehabilitation program that made a seamless transition to in-person care. We could not be prouder of their achievements and offer our continued support as they find new ways to improve access to care,” said Marcia Peters, Chief Operating Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue.

“During the pandemic, telehealth cardiac rehabilitation was initiated to virtually support patients with heart failure, heart attacks and post-cardiac procedures,” said Dr. Norma Keller, Chief of Cardiology, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue. “We are thrilled that we can now provide cardiac rehabilitation and wellness services in person in addition to our tele-rehab program.”

“It has been an incredible honor to see the dream of in-person cardiac rehabilitation come to fruition at Bellevue,” said Dr. Matthew Vorsanger, Director of the Cardiology Clinic and Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue. “Through Dr. Keller’s vision and the dedication of our interdisciplinary team, we can now provide this essential treatment to patients who previously had insurmountable barriers to accessing this care. With our team’s individualized approach, focusing on nutrition, exercise, psychosocial well-being, and medication optimization, we can give our patients the care they need for optimal heart health.”

“It’s been amazing,” said patient Scott Lynch. “It’s really nice to be walked through all the details of rehab by professionals as opposed to me trying to figure it out on my own.”

Bellevue’s Cardiology Department is the recipient of numerous accreditations, awards, recognitions and accolades, including:

  • A gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) for our Coronary Care Unit (CCU)
  • Designation as a Center of Excellence from the ACC
  • Accreditation of Bellevue as a Comprehensive Cardiovascular Center by The Joint Commission (TJC)
  • Accreditation of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (Cath Lab) and the Electrophysiology (EP) Lab by the ACC
  • Re-accreditation of the Echocardiography (Echo) Lab by The Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) 
  • Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) Heart Failure Gold Plus, Resuscitation Gold, and a Mission Lifeline Award from the American Heart Association
  • A quality achievement award from U.S. News & World Report in Heart Attack and Heart Failure

Bellevue is the only public hospital in the United States with an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) treatment program. A form of life support, the ECMO machine pumps and oxygenates the patient’s blood outside the body, allowing the patient’s heart and lungs to rest while they recover.  The program’s launch was expedited and it began on April 1, 2020, during the height of the pandemic, to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients.

“In addition to providing heroic care during the pandemic, remarkably Bellevue initiated an ECMO program to support patients who needed mechanical support for respiratory failure secondary to COVID pneumonia and heart support to those with cardiac failure who otherwise would have succumbed to their disease.  To date, we have cared for 64 patients with heart or lung failure requiring ECMO support, with outcomes matching national averages. This includes nine patients who sustained a cardiac arrest with ongoing CPR,” said Dr. Keller.

Contact: BellevuePublicRelations@nychhc.org, 212-562-4516


About NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue

NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue is America’s oldest public hospital, established in 1736. Affiliated with the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the 844-bed hospital is a major referral center for highly complex cases, with 6,000 employees including highly skilled, interdisciplinary clinical staff. The hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center and annually it sees almost 100,000 emergency room visits, more than 520,000 outpatient visits, and almost 200,000 visits to our COVID-19 testing and vaccine centers. Clinical centers of excellence include: Emergency Medicine and Trauma Care; Cardiovascular Services; Bariatric Surgery; Designated Regional Perinatal Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ICU); Children’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program; and Cancer Services. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org/bellevue or find us on twitter.com/BellevueHosp.

About NYC Health + Hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthandHospitals or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.