A satellite office of Blue Mountain Health System's cardiac care unit, which offers virtually all the testing facilities available in a hospital, has opened at Carbon Plaza Mall in Mahoning Township.

Lisa Johnson, vice president of public relations and marketing for BMHS, said the Cardiac Care Center provides a convenience for individuals who need angio or cardiac testing and monitoring.

"We still offer all the services at both hospital campuses," Johnson said. "This is an extension of those services."

Blue Mountain Health System is the parent company of the Gnaden Huetten Campus in Lehighton and the Palmerton Campus. Both sites have cardiac care units.

Ruth Brennan, vice president of clinical services for BMHS, said among the services at Cardiac Care Center are stress tests, nuclear stress tests, echocardiograms, and stress echocardiograms.

The new facility, which opened April 5, is located next to Cardiology Associates and has about a half dozen full-time employees. A physician is on duty any time testing occurs.

Johnson said the Cardiac Care Center is ideal for standardized and continual care. She said the staff is under the auspices of BMHS.

Staff members said one of the advantages of the satellite unit is that when testing occurs inside the hospital, there is potential for interruptions due to emergency room cases.

"Here you don't have those interruptions," said Brennan.

Before Blue Mountain Health System took over the testing facilities, the office was a part of Cardiology Associates. Brennan stressed that Cardiology Associates is still located there.

To utilize the new testing and diagnostic facilities, a prescription is needed. The physician doesn't have to be part of the Blue Mountain Health Systems network.

"Anyone can come here for testing," said Johnson.

Because of the time frames for testing, appointments are required. Lois Richards, director of imaging, said most tests can take from 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Nuclear imaging can run to three hours because it is done in three parts with a 45-minute wait between each segment.

Brennan said especially considered when opening the new unit was the ease in getting to it, as well as the availability of convenient parking.

She said patients include anyone with cardiac symptoms or problems, or with a family history of cardiovascular disease.

Referrals can include patients whose doctors recommend a stress test, to individuals who come into the emergency room with angio pains, to people who have had heart problems and treatment.

The Cardiac Care Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For scheduling, call the Cardiac Care Center at (570) 818-4125 or the centralized scheduling office of Blue Mountain Health System at (866) 400-2970.