More hearts helped with Medicare expansion

Delma Gresley exercising in the Cardiac Rehab program at Mercy Cadillac Hospital.

Delma Gresley has been exercising with the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Mercy Cadillac Hospital for about two years. She had open heart surgery after a heart attack and now with the program, she does a combination of cardio and strength training exercises 2-3 times a week with other people who've had heart problems.

Lisa Myers is a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital Cadillac and along with an exercise specialist she oversees everyone who is exercising and helps them along the way.

"Most people come in very timid, fearful, a lot of anxiety and over time they sort of blossom and figure out that 'oh I am going to be able to do the things that I want to do," Myers said. "So they're increasing confidence, ability. It's a very positive environment for both us and the patients."

The cost for Cardiac Rehab in patients with "stable, chronic heart failure" has been approved to be covered by Medicare. So now more CHF patients will be able to benefit from Mercy Cadillac's Program.

"We want to make it as easy as possible so they can come on a regular basis, so it's exciting to be able to offer it to more people," Myers said.

Everyone has their own goals in mind whether it be walking without the assistance of a wheelchair, not feel out of breath so often, or run a 5K.

"It's very very individualized exercise and so people need to know we are going to work with you where you're at and if you give it time and effort you will see yourself improve and so that's reassuring to folks to know we aren't trying to have you do what the person next to you is doing we are having you make strides from where you began," Myers said.

Even after graduating from the program many patients, like Delma, are so happy about how they feel that they continue to come and work out on a monthly basis like a gym.

For more information on the Cardiac Rehab program, visit