We know that our patients’ heart health journeys begin before they enter the hospital and continue after they walk out the door. A successful outcome means more than a stable discharge – it means a lifetime of heart health.  That is why our entire care team is focused on providing comfort, peace of mind, and clarity to you and your support system after a cardiac event or heart and vascular procedure.

The Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, in affiliation with Georgia Heart Institute, provides critical support, education and services that help heart patients maintain their health and regain quality of life.

Our Cardiopulmonary Rehab Program

Certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation (also known as cardiac rehab) program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, in affiliation with Georgia Heart Institute, is designed to help a patient regain their wellness and peace of mind after a cardiac event or heart and vascular surgery. We are focused on providing wrap-around support, education to improve quality of life, and a progressive exercise program that is custom-designed for the patient and clinically monitored. Ultimately, our goal is for our patients to make a full recovery and to provide a lifetime of support.

Why should I consider cardiac rehab for myself, my family or my patient?

Research has shown that cardiac rehab programs reduce re-hospitalization after surgery or a procedure, decrease the need for medications, increase the rate of persons returning to work and reduce sudden cardiac death.

Ultimately, these programs can have an impact on outcomes after a diagnosis, procedure and surgery and set a patient up for long-term success.

Who is a candidate for cardiac rehab?

Our program is designed for patients who have recently experienced or are at high risk for a heart attack, heart surgery or cardiac interventions.

This includes patients who have recently:

  • Undergone a surgical procedure, such as:
    • Heart transplant
    • VAD implantation for heart failure
    • Valve replacement
    • TAVR and TMVR (transcatheter aortic or mitral valve replacement)
    • Coronary artery bypass (CABG)
  • Undergone a catheter-based heart and vascular treatment, such as
    • Stent placement
    • Angioplasty
  • Experienced a cardiac event, such as:
    • Heart attack
  • Have been hospitalized for a serious heart or vascular condition, such as:
    • Heart failure with less than or equal to an EF of 35%
    • Peripheral artery disease
    • Stable Angina pectoris (chest pain)

If you are uncertain whether you would be a good candidate for cardiac rehabilitation or if your insurance would cover it, please contact us at 770-219-8290 for Gainesville and 770-848-7190 for Braselton.

How do I pay for cardiac rehab?

Phase I of cardiac rehab is offered free of charge to patients who qualified. All that is needed is a referral from your physician.

Many health insurance plans will reimburse much of the cost of the Phase II program. The Cardiopulmonary Rehab staff and the Financial Counseling Department will work with the patient and the insurance company to determine the extent of coverage prior to patient participation.

Please speak to the rehab staff about financial information for Phase III. This is a self-pay program that insurance does not cover.

Do I need a referral for cardiac rehab?

Yes. You will need a referral from your cardiologist for our cardiac rehabilitation program. If you have questions about whether you qualify for cardiac rehab or how to get a referral, please contact us at 770-219-8290.

You can also download and print out our referral form to bring to your doctor.

Our Cardiopulmonary Rehab Program

For patients who have recently experienced a cardiac event or heart failure, it is common to have concerns and questions about how to improve or maintain their condition. Patients are often uncertain about what the road to recovery will look like or how to navigate their care options. Our cardiac rehab program is among the largest in northeast Georgia, with decades of experience in helping heart and vascular patients navigate their way back to lasting heart health. Cardiac rehab is divided into three phases, with Phase I occurring during the patient’s hospital stay and the other phases beginning after an individual has been discharged from the hospital, or any time upon a physician’s referral.

Treatment Phases
Phase I

During Phase I, an inpatient educator from our Cardiopulmonary Rehab team will meet with the patient and their family in the hospital before discharge to answer any questions and provide one-on-one education. We will also discuss the benefits of continuing cardiac rehabilitation and how our outpatient program can help.

Phase II

Our outpatient cardiac rehab program during Phase II offers a wide array of services to meet heart and vascular patients wherever they are and help them improve their health. For some patients, they may leave rehabilitation with more capacity than they had even before their event or procedure and with the skills that they need to get their heart and vascular health back on track.

Phase II includes:

  • Twelve weeks of specialized support and expertise.
  • An initial clinical consult with a specially trained cardiac rehab nurse who will assess their unique condition, lifestyle and needs to develop a plan for them.
  • A consult with a dietitian to develop a diet plan and gain additional skills to maintain heart health.
  • A consult with an exercise physiologist.
  • Customized and clinically monitored exercise throughout the program with progressive goals set based on the patient’s progress.
  • Access to a dedicated exercise space exclusively designed for cardiac rehabilitation patients.
  • Ongoing care coordination and updates to the patient’s primary care provider and cardiologist, including a pre- and post-program assessment.
  • Access to additional services, as needed, like access to a licensed clinical social worker, smoking cessation programs and any other needs.
Phase III

After patients have graduated from Phase II, or occasionally if they are referred straight to Phrase III by a physician, this phase of cardiac rehabilitation provides indefinite access to clinical expertise and resources on heart disease and recovery.

Should a patient ever have a concern, question, or a setback, our cardiac rehab team will be ready to support them however needed. We are available both over the phone and in-person for our patients in Phase III to continue to support them in their heart health. Some of our patients have been a part of the Phase III program for more than 25 years.

Program Benefits
Support Group

Our program gives patients access to meet and commune with a group of other patients participating in cardiac rehab. This environment of support, provided both by the patients and the cardiac rehab team, is motivating, encouraging and reassuring to many of our patients.

Customized Exercise Plan

Our exercise program begins with a walk test conducted by an cardiac rehab staff member to see what the patient’s current capability is. From there, our team will develop a custom exercise plan based on a specific target heart rate. All exercise during rehabilitation is monitored regularly through an EKG device to determine if the patient is meeting their goals, if they have the capacity to do more.

Due to our clinical oversight and advanced monitoring techniques, patients can safely be encouraged to meet stretch goals, enabling them to exceed the outcomes they might reach through self-guided rehab or home exercises.

We regularly benchmark our patients’ progress and communicate it directly with their physicians.

Educational Classes

We provide classes, counseling and resources about their specific condition, dietary needs and exercise needs. We also provide specialized classes on survival skills, teaching them about their unique risks and signs of a cardiac event, ensuring that if they do experience complications down the road, our patients can recognize them and receive prompt assistance.

Through our Phase III program, we provide indefinite and long-term access to our team’s expertise, ensuring that our patients are never without support.

Access to Clinical Expertise

Our program offers patients access to:

  • A specially trained cardiac rehab team
  • Dietitian services
  • Exercise physiology
  • Options to connect with a licensed clinical social worker, smoking cessation and other support services
  • In-house clinical expertise on co-morbidities, like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc.
Care Coordination

We provide ongoing care coordination and updates to our patients’ primary care provider and cardiologist, including a pre- and post-program assessment. As a part of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, we use Epic as our electronic medical records system, which gives clinicians across northeast Georgia instant access to our patient’s latest progress and milestones.

Why Choose NGMC?

The experts of Georgia Heart Institute provide an unmatched level of heart and vascular care that stays with you – and your family – for a lifetime. Our program brings together dedicated cardiologists, renowned surgeons and specially trained care teams to overcome the most advanced & complex conditions and get you back to making memories.

Working together with Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Cardiopulmonary Rehab team, our program offers long-term experience with cardiac care, providing a level of expertise and clinical oversight that provides better outcomes in heart and vascular recovery than in-home programs or self-guided recovery. Additionally, we always have a critical care nurse present, ensuring that we can respond to emergent needs quickly.

Our program is well-respected to the extent that we are home to a clinical training program for exercise physiology students from Brenau University, University of Georgia, and University of North Georgia.


Have Questions?

Contact our Heart & Vascular Rehabilitation program in Gainesville at 770-219-8290 or in Braselton at 770-848-7190.