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Minneapolis Heart Institute services in New Ulm, Springfield saves patients from travel

Robin Harmer, CNP, is a Minneapolis Heart Institute Provider who lives in New Ulm and sees patients full time at NUMC.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessing the specialists at Minneapolis Heart Institute (MHI), located at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, can be crucial for those diagnosed with heart disease. Traveling the two hours to Minneapolis is not always ideal when struggling with health issues, however.

Thankfully, many of the specialists and services at MHI are available to patients at the New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) Clinic through visiting specialists every day of the week. TeleHeart services are now also available to patients at NUMC’s satellite clinic in Springfield.

“One of our guiding principles is to keep as much care as possible local. We achieve this through in-person care and TeleHeart,” said Andrea Berg, director, Outreach, Strategy and Business Development for MHI.

Services provided by MHI at NUMC include cardiology services, vascular services, mobile echo services (echocardiograms) and TeleHeart. Additionally, NUMC offers stress testing, HeartScan (Calcium Scoring), and cardiovascular rehab. In Springfield, MHI began offering TeleHeart services in August 2020 and recently expanded the offering from one afternoon a month to two afternoons a month.

MHI also strives to ensure that the communities they serve and their referring providers have access to cardiology expertise through Cardiology Curbside. 

Cardiovascular experts are available everyday via Teleheart and Cardiology Curbside services provided by Minneapolis Heart Institute to NUMC patients and providers.

“Cardiology Curbside is an MHI program that allows any physician from any institution to obtain real time guidance from an MHI cardiologist on the care of a patient,” Berg said. This is achieved by committing a full-time cardiologist to this program every weekday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cardiologist can provide cardiovascular expertise as well as transfer assistance for patients going to Abbott Northwestern.

In addition, there is a lengthy list of MHI providers who see patients at NUMC, including: Jay Traverse, MD, Interventional Cardiologist; Desmond Jay, MD, General Cardiologist; Michael Miedema, MD, Prevention Cardiologist; Kevin Harris, MD, General Cardiologist; Said Alsidawi, MD, General Cardiologist; Luis Pagan, MD, General Cardiologist; David Lin, MD, General Cardiologist; Joseph Karam, MD, Vascular Surgeon; Senthil Jayarajan, MD, Vascular Surgeon; and Robin Harmer, CNP.

MHI cardiologists are at NUMC every Tuesday and compliment their in-person services with TeleHeart every Thursday.

Robin Harmer, CNP, is an MHI provider but lives in New Ulm and sees patients at NUMC full time, beginning last spring.

Harmer has a particular interest in Coronary Artery Disease and Congestive Heart Failure.

“There is something very gratifying about participating in improving a person’s quality of life,” she said. “I find cardiology and the study of the heart to be fascinating.”

She sees her approach to her clinical practice as a collaboration with her patients.

“I like for my patients to participate in the decisions about their care and I place a lot of emphasis on teaching the patients about their medical problems and therapies, so that they can participate in those decisions,” Harmer said.

NUMC patients also benefit from the important collaboration MHI has with Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, its partner in research and education.

“At any given time, we have more than 200 studies being conducted with more than 2,200 patients participating,” Berg said. “By seeing an MHI provider, our patients have access to these studies (if they qualify), therefore expanding treatment options.”

MHI Foundation’s innovative ten-year Heart of New Ulm Project successfully saw a reduction in heart attacks in the study participants and has transitioned to community-owned health initiative.

“On the education front, MHI is committed to cardiovascular education to the public and healthcare community. We do this through professional and community events, including New Ulm,” Berg said. “In a given year, MHI providers provide over 300 outreach talks and events.”

To schedule an appointment with an MHI provider at NUMC, call 507-217-5011. To learn more about MHI, go to www.mplsheart.com.

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