Last updated: August 24. 2013 6:24AM - 231 Views

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LIMA ‚?? As a cardiac rehab patient at St. Rita‚??s Medical Center for almost four years, Bruce Boggs was surprised when he got a letter in the mail last week that told him his program was ending effective Oct. 31.

Phases III and IV of the cardiac and pulmonary rehab program at St. Rita‚??s are being discontinued at the end of the month. It‚??s much like a gym, but outpatients can safely use exercise equipment while their blood pressure and heart rhythms are closely monitored.

‚??They should not be stopping it,‚?Ě said Boggs, of Lima. ‚??Administrators should come down to see how many people utilize the program.‚?Ě

The slashed program was a part of the hospital cuts that were made in September, said St. Rita‚??s spokeswoman Linda Chartrand. That announcement last month eliminated 60 jobs at the hospital.

At least 50 patients come to the rehab center on a regular basis; patients are prescribed the service through a cardiologist.

While the program is helping patients try to transition into new workout programs elsewhere, Boggs said he expects that they just won‚??t compare to what‚??s offered at the rehab facility. There likely won‚??t be access to specialized health professionals such as nurses and physical therapists to assist them through workouts to ensure it‚??s done in a healthy way.

‚??They don‚??t offer the same services for our needs,‚?Ě he said.

He goes to the rehab facility three times a week to work out.

‚??I am really worried that there won‚??t be another place where they‚??ll be able to monitor and do the things that they do,‚?Ě said Deb Gronas, another patient who‚??s disappointed and upset about the discontinuation of the program.

After having open-heart surgery late last year, she‚??s been using the program since March.

‚??Through their guidance and support, I‚??ve gone from barely being able to walk on the treadmill to doing about six miles three times a week,‚?Ě said Gronas, of Lima. ‚??The people that work there are wonderful. They know each of us, our histories, what each of us is capable of doing.‚?Ě

She said it‚??s also a great place to socialize and have similar cardiac traumas as commonalities with other people that workout there. Boggs and Gronas said they‚??d both be happy if the hospital even scaled back days and hours without cutting the program completely.

Gronas isn‚??t optimistic about going elsewhere, doesn‚??t know if she wants to try doing her workouts anywhere else, at this point.

‚??I‚??m most likely going to monitor on my own at home,‚?Ě she said.

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