Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 9:00 PM on Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Heart health in spotlight this month

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

With Valentine's Day right in the middle of the month, February is all about the heart. At South Peninsula Hospital, it's about heart health.

"South Peninsula Hospital celebrates February as Heart Health Month with educational offerings and discounted rates on heart health screenings throughout the month," said Derotha Ferraro, SPH public affairs director.

A cardiac scoring CT, regularly a $298 exam, is being offered for the reduced price of $99. It is described as a non-invasive 15-minute CT procedure that scores the amount of calcium buildup in arteries. A referral from a physician and an appointment is required. Additional information or an appointment can be made by calling the SPH Imaging Department, 235-0363.

A heart health blood test, regularly $202, also is being offered for $99 during February. A complete blood panel, its heart focus includes cholesterol, cardiac risk, anemia and diabetes. No appointment or referral is necessary, but registration and payment are required at the hospital's front desk before going to the lab. For more information, call 235-0338.

A free public forum on heart health will be presented by Dr. George S. Rhyneer, retired cardiologist from the Alaska Heart Institute, at the SPH Training Center on Pioneer Avenue, 6 p.m. Feb. 23. Parking is available in the back of the training center. Heart-healthy snacks will be provided.

"This will be a great chance to come and meet him," said Ferraro. "If you've never met him, but have been told by a physician that you should go to a cardiology consult, this will be an opportunity to meet him before you go."

Extending beyond February, Rhyneer also is offering cardiology clinics at the hospital on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month as part of the hospital's specialty clinic. Appointments are made through primary care providers, with Rhyneer providing initial consults.

Rhyneer has been in Alaska for 40 years and practicing cardiology since 1971. Ten years ago he was one of the founders of the Alaska Heart Institute. He also is a founder of a new Medicare clinic that opened in Anchorage in the spring, exclusively serving Medicare patients. Although he lives near Anchorage, Rhyneer has a vacation home across Kachemak Bay. Now that he's retired from the Heart Institute, he is able to travel to this area more frequently.

"He's been coming for many years and has been a resource to local physicians, but this is the first time on a regular schedule," said Ferraro. "He's a true advocate for health care."

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky @homernews.com.