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Genesis offers mental health care for cardio patients

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In 2020, Michael Malloy received news nobody wants to hear: He had five blocked arteries. 

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Malloy

Malloy said he has been involved in the health care industry for most of his life but never as a patient. While the reality of his condition and upcoming surgery were scary, his primary concern was how his family would handle everything.

"I wasn't worried about the procedure. I was worried about what happens after the procedure," he said. "I love my family dearly, but they are definitely the worry wart type of people."

Fortunately, Genesis Heart Institute is now employing a social worker for cardiac arrest patients. Malloy said in speaking with the social worker, he was able to establish the tools he needed to communicate with his family while also keep his stress levels down.

More than 40% of patients experience depression, anxiety, or PTSD as a result of their diagnosis. John Anderson, CEO of the Quad City Bank and Trust, was one of those patients. After suffering from a heart attack on July 4, 2016, he began to suffer from depression. 

"I was very blessed and very fortunate- obviously I'm here today to talk about that," he said.

But, it all goes back to the care. Anderson said after his cardiac event, he suffered from panic attacks and would often wake up in the middle of the night with an incredibly high heart rate. Through his employer, he was able to receive mental health care, but the experience made a lasting impression on him.

The Quad City Bank and Trust donated funds to Genesis to ensure all cardiac patients would have access to mental health care.

"To me the measure of success would be if one person was saved or made better," he said. "

Since the inception of the program more than 2,000 people have been able to receive mental health care. Dr. Edmund Coyne said as a cardio doctor, he is careful with medicine and procedures while the patient is in his care. But, the story does not end there.

"We also have to think about the next five, 10, 20 years of that patient's life," he said. 

Coyne said medical professionals have been neglectful over the years by not ensuring access to mental health care is available. This not only detracts from their quality of life, but the enrichment needed to prolong their lives. 

"By having this institute … our patients have access to that health system if they need it,"he said.

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Kopp

For Dr. Steve Kopp, this program is a dream come true. The Director of Genesis Psychology Associates said mental health care is crucial to saving lives. Data proves cardiac events are more likely to worsen depression in patients already suffering.

"In the six months after that event, if you have depression, it increases the likelihood of mortality to 17% versus 3% if there isn't depression in play," he said.

Patients dealing with both cardiac arrest and depression are 50% more likely to suffer from a stroke. Mental health problems are often kept in the dark, he said, but more help is gradually being made available. The big problem now, he said, is access. 

"We want to make sure we're reaching out to individuals who need this care," he said.

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