George Wargo is a regular user of the treadmills and other equipment in the pulmonary rehabilitation deparment at St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital in Coaldale.

"They are all excellent," said Wargo, a Coaldale resident who works with Anita Horvat, therapist with the pulmonary department, three times a week.

"They have a good variety here, and patients have an option for which exercises they prefer as proposed by the therapist."

Wargo said his workouts have helped him with his breathing and his overall health.

St. Luke's Miners has moved and expanded its cardiac and pulmonary departments, relocating them from the second to the fourth floor. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the expansion.

Among those in attendance were William Crossin, St. Luke's Miners chief executive officer; John Tracy, vice chairman of the hospital's board of directors; Dr. Kirth W. Steele and Dr. Todd Banning; Betsy Steffy, supervisor of the cardio pulmonary department; state Sen. David Argall (R-124); state Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-124); Betty Benulis, R.N.; Anita Horvat, C.R.T.; and some of the patients who utilize the departments.

The refurbished and relocated departments are part of the hospital's $3 million capital campaign, which also includes renovating the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the day room located on the fifth floor.

"We started with the cardiac department in the fall, and we just finished it in March," said Micah Gursky, director of development for St. Luke's Miners. "This also opens up space on the second floor so we can isolate the ICU into that space."

While one-half million dollars from a State Department of Public Welfare grant was used towards the project, Gursky stressed that much of the funding comes from private donations to the capital campaign.

"We couldn't do this without private gifts," said Gursky. "We've had donations of $5 to $600,000 and everything in between."

Both the cardiac and pulmonary programs are designed to improve patients' quality of life.

The Fern Gilbert Cardiac Rehabilitation Program assists inå reducing patients' risk of cardiovascular disease and supports individuals with cardiac rehabilitation and fitness training.

The Phyllis Adams Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program improves the functional capacity of chronic lung disease patients.

"This is much bigger than what we had to offer before," said Steffy, who thanked Drs. Steele and Banning for their support of the program, as well as noting the efforts of Horvat and Benulis for their work with the patients.

Argall was impressed as he checked out the high-tech exercise equipment in the newly expanded department.

"It doesn't feel like I'm in a hospital," said Argall, who praised the hospital's growth and vision.."This is only a small portion of the overall program. The hospital isn't just about providing services. It is also one of the single largest employers in the Panther Valley area."

For more information on the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs, contact St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, 360 West Ruddle Street, Coaldale, by calling (570) 645-8162 or check www.slhn.org.