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2008 Press Releases
Morton Plant Mease Heart Program Receives National Distinction, Recertification

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Honored for Patient Care

CLEARWATER, Fla., (October 1, 2008) - Cardiac rehabilitation – medically supervised exercise, diet, education and support - is essential to helping patients with heart disease regain their total health and avoid future heart problems. The Morton Plant Mease Cardiac Rehabilitation Program has assisted more than 22,000 heart patients in the last 25 years and has again been honored for its quality of care by receiving recertification by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) for the fourth consecutive time.

“Recertification by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation is the gold standard for a cardiac rehab program. This means we’re meeting the highest level of criteria for excellent cardiac rehabilitation care,” said Robert Lynch, director of cardiology services, Morton Plant Mease Health Care.

Cardiac rehabilitation can boost energy levels for heart patients and reduce stress. The Morton Plant Mease cardiac rehab program includes:

  • Individualized exercise programs with electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring and supervision by registered nurses and exercise physiologists
  • Nutrition classes taught by registered dietitians
  • Stress management education
  • Assistance and education regarding smoking cessation, weight loss and diabetes

“Following heart surgery, patients may experience a number of lifestyle changes both physically and psychologically. There’s no question that participation in cardiac rehabilitation can assist with recovery by building strength, boosting spirits and improving overall quality of life,” said Dr. Thomas Deal, cardiac surgery, Morton Plant Mease Health Care.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Florida, accounting for more than 49,000 deaths or approximately 29 percent of the state’s deaths in 2002 according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Cardiac rehab programs reapply for AACVPR recertification every three years. To receive certification, programs are rigorously reviewed by a national board and found to meet the essential requirements for standards of care. 26 cardiac rehabilitation programs in Florida are currently certified by the AACVPR. The Morton Plant Mease cardiac rehabilitation program has received recertification since the AACVPR began offering the certification in 1996.

Any physician can refer a patient for cardiac rehabilitation at Morton Plant Mease by calling (727) 461-8295. Morton Plant Mease Health Care offers cardiac rehabilitation programs at two locations; Mease Countryside Hospital’s Medical Arts Building in Safety Harbor and at Morton Plant Hospital’s Cheek-Powell Heart and Vascular Pavilion in Clearwater. The program in Clearwater began in 1983.


Founded in 1985, the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) is dedicated to the professional development of its members, through information, networking, and educational opportunities. Central to the mission is the improvement in the quality of life for patients and their families. AACVPR guiding principles include never compromising quality and integrity, focusing on customers and continuous improvement.

About Morton Plant Mease Health Care

Nationally recognized for health care excellence, Morton Plant Mease Health Care is dedicated to providing community owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. Morton Plant Mease Health Care is comprised of the following hospitals – Morton Plant, Clearwater; Mease Dunedin, Dunedin; Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey.

Contact: Beth Hardy (727) 298-6199 Phone, (727) 402-8113 Pager or Amy Morrow (727) 461-8538 Phone, (727) 402-5975 Pager