The space is more resort than hospital. It has a cafe, a huge high-definition movie screen, yoga studio and a workout gym in an open space of pastel-colored walls, modern furniture and light wood flooring.
Its name is "Basecamp."
The idea behind the new center at St. Vincent Medical Center in Southwest Portland represents cutting-edge cardiac care. It was designed to rehabilitate patients and prevent others from ever needing cardiac treatment in the first place.
Basecamp is the brainchild of Dr. James Beckerman, a Providence cardiologist. When he started on the project two years ago, he looked at other major cardiac centers across the country. None had a wellness center that offered as many amenities as Basecamp, he said.
Providence's has a long history of treating heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the country of both men and women. But treatment isn't enough.
"Eighty percent of heart disease is preventable through lifestyle changes," Beckerman said.
With the aging population, 40 percent of all Americans could have some form of heart disease by 2030, according to the American Heart Association.
Cardiologists, despite their minuscule pacemakers, high-tech valve replacements and less invasive surgical techniques, can't stem that tide, said Dr. Dan Oseran, medical director of Providence Heart and Vascular Institute.
"We're not going to get on top of this tidal wave of heart disease unless we start preventing it," Oseran said.
Thus the creation of Basecamp. It's expected to serve 70,000 people a year, including cardiac patients, Providence staff and members of the community.
Besides rehab and clinic services, the center will show documentaries focused on health, dish up heart-healthy food and offer classes on yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and barre3, which combines yoga, Pilates and ballet exercises. Staff will also hold cooking and nutrition classes, giving out recipes to encourage people to cook low-sodium, low-sugar meals at home.Basecamp Open house When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday (Feb. 24) Where: St. Vincent Medical Center, Mother Joseph Plaza, 9427 S.W. Barnes Road, Portland Open for business: 7 a.m. Monday, March 6.
Providence physicians will prescribe Basecamp to cardiac patients as part of their recovery, but the public is also welcome. Many of the classes will be free, though Providence will charge for series sessions, offering senior discounts and special deals for Providence Medicare and health plan members.
The center will also provide patients with mentors like Jeff Van Hoy, who suffered a heart attack five years ago at age 58.
"I was in complete shock, denial, frustration," Van Hoy said. "I believed I was in reasonable shape."
St. Vincent cardiologists inserted a stent into his blocked artery and put him on a treadmill when he was well enough.
He walked and sweated his way to a full recovery, helped by a change of diet.
"We went home and threw everything out," Van Hoy said.
He and his wife, Diane Van Hoy, adopted a Mediterranean diet, focused on vegetables and olive oil with lean protein. They also started a daily walking routine supplemented with visits to the gym.
Right after his heart attack, Van Hoy didn't know if he'd be able to walk again. But today, at 63, he can do everything he loves, including fly fishing.
He was quick to sign up as a mentor at Basecamp. He wants to set an example for others, showing them that if they stick to their programs, they'll make a full recovery as he has.
"I consider myself a success story," Van Hoy said.
Kay Fagan, who visited Basecamp last week for the first time, is also a success story. Toward the end of 2014, she had to have a stent to correct a blockage in her right coronary artery. She went through 36 weeks of cardiac rehab and has since been on a maintenance program.
Now 70, she recently signed up for another round of cardiac rehab because an unrelated health incident last year that kept her from exercising.
She's thrilled she'll be working out at Basecamp, monitored by nurses and exercise physiologists in a gym that has a wall of windows overlooking trees and shrubs.
"It feels nonclinical, but it is safe," Fagan said.
That's exactly what Beckerman hoped the center would achieve.
"It's really important to us that prevention be accessible," Beckerman said
-- Lynne Terry
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