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January 4, 2021

Steward St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center Opens New England’s First Pritikin ICR™ Cardiac Rehab Program

Today, Steward St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center expanded its cardiac rehabilitation program by officially treating its first patient through the Pritikin Program. St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center is the first facility in New England to offer the Pritikin Program, and one of approximately 70 nationwide. 

Cardiac rehabilitation is a key step for recovery after a cardiac event or heart surgery, consisting of a comprehensive, medically supervised program that promotes heart health through education, exercise, and patient lifestyle changes. The medical expertise of the Cardiac Rehab team at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center led by Dr. Uyen Lam, alongside dedicated nurses and dietitians, gives patients who receive a prescription for ICR the opportunity to reduce future health risks and improves the quality of their lives. 

“The Pritikin ICR sessions provide patients with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, even after their cardiac rehab is complete. By tailoring the teaching model to each patient’s individual needs, we can ensure they walk away with a full understanding of the changes they need to make,” said Dr. Lam. “While these changes may seem overwhelming at first, our whole team is here to help them through every step of the way.”

Patients qualify for the Pritikin ICR if they have suffered from cardiac events such as a heart attack, coronary artery bypass surgery, bypass or valve surgery, angioplasty and stent placements, transplant, or chronic heart failure. The tailored model of the program allows for patients to enroll as soon as they are diagnosed to expedite their treatment.  

“We chose to implement the Pritikin Program at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center because of the program’s  strong, evidence-based results that have demonstrated slowing, and even reversing, heart disease in some patients,” said Dr. Joseph Carrozza, Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center and Vice President of the Steward Cardiovascular Network. “By offering this program, we are creating a sustainable model for them to incorporate heart health into their lifestyle and greatly improve their outcome moving forward.”

“We’re excited to offer this exclusive health and wellness lifestyle medicine therapy to our cardiovascular patients. We are proud to bring this impactful program for the first time not only to the city of Boston, but to all of New England and Steward Health Care,” said Jon Gardner, Senior Cardiovascular Administrator at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. 

The Pritikin Program enhances St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center’s existing cardiac rehab program by offering 72 sessions for patients, instead of the typical rate of 36 sessions, furthering improved outcomes in patients. While higher in volume, the sessions often come at a lower cost to patients and are covered by Medicare. 

The sessions offer a combination of immersive workshops, including education on exercise, cooking lessons and recipes, tips for grocery shopping and eating out, and stress management. One of the key differentiators of the Pritikin Program is that patients are coached through implementing heart-healthy mechanisms into their lifestyle in a manner that is sustainable for them. 

If you have questions about cardiac rehabilitation or your doctor recommended you or a loved one begin cardiac rehabilitation, call 617-787-7901 to speak with the cardiac rehabilitation team at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.

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About St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center:
St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine, offers patients access to some of Boston's most respected physicians and advanced treatments for a full-range of medical specialties, including family medicine, cardiovascular care, women and infants' health, cancer care, neurology care, and orthopedics. St. Elizabeth’s is a member of Steward Health Care. Visit St. Elizabeth’s online at www.semc.org.

About Pritikin:
The Pritikin Program has been taught for over 40 years at the Pritikin Longevity Center. With more than 100 peer-reviewed, published scientific studies backing its efficacy, the Pritikin Program is approved for reimbursement under the Intensive Cardiac Rehab (ICR) CMS benefit class. With twice the number of Medicare-covered sessions as traditional cardiac rehab (72 instead of 36), Pritikin offers a unique lifestyle education program which includes medically-supervised exercise, nutrition education, cooking lessons, and behavioral skills workshops. Qualifying events for Pritikin ICR are the same as traditional cardiac rehab, and include: heart attack, coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, stable angina (chest pain), heart or heart-lung transplants, heart valve repair or replacements, and chronic heart failure. For more information, please visit www.pritikinicr.com.