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posted: 7/28/2014 5:01 AM

Cardiac support group disbands NWCH chapter

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It is with regret we inform the communities served by Northwest Community Hospital that our chapter of Mended Hearts is disbanding.

Members of this cardiac support group have visited patients and families in the hospital for over 20 years, offering hope and encouragement to thousands suffering from, and being treated for heart disease.

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All of our visitors are heart patients themselves, in one form or another. Being able to speak with someone who has "been there, done that" was a significant benefit to current patients and their families, and gives meaning to our motto, "It's Great to be Alive, and to Help Others". All visitors are professionally trained and accredited each year.

Our group conducted monthly educational meetings, typically with speakers from the medical community covering topics related to diagnosis, treatment, prevention and lifestyle. Our meetings were open to Mended Hearts members, as well as the general public.

Following a recent meeting with hospital officials, it became apparent we could not bridge the gap to support one of our group's primary missions -- visiting heart patients and their families in the hospital. This was due to a strict interpretation of HIPPA rules, as they felt these visits would violate patients' privacy.

It was explained further that this was being enforced to mitigate risk for the hospital.

Mended Hearts is a national organization, founded in 1951, with over 300 local chapters serving approximately 450 hospitals, offering similar visit and educational programs.

As a result, we have no choice but to disband our chapter. We will merge our membership with the Alexian Brothers Medical Center chapter in Elk Grove Village and perform our visiting services there.

Mended Hearts also has chapters at: Northwestern Memorial, Chicago; Advocate Good Shepherd, Barrington; Presence Mercy, Aurora; MacNeal Hospital, Berwyn; Presence St. Joseph, Joliet and Loyola in Maywood.

For more information, visit www.mendedhearts.org.

Richard Morin

President, Mended Hearts, Chapter #248

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