HGH Cardiac Rehab Achieves Nation's Highest Certification

Humboldt General Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program achieved a landmark milestone last week when it was certified the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).

The designation recognizes Humboldt General Hospital for its commitment to improving quality of life by enhancing standards of care.

Program facilitator Billie Lucero said it was hard to contain her excitement at the news.

“This has been a very long and involved process,” she said, “but it was worth it to help our patients know we want to provide them with the best care possible.”

Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised exercise and education program designed to improve the quality of life of those who have cardiovascular problems; participants may attend up to 36 sessions that include exercise, education, counseling, and support for themselves and their families.

Humboldt General Hospital’s Cardiac Rehab team includes physical therapists who oversee the program’s exercise component, HGH EMS Rescue paramedics who monitor patients while they exercise, and Lucero, the hospital’s Wellness Coordinator, who oversees the wellness portion as well as day-to-day operations of the program.

Lucero also coordinates with hospital dietitian Tiffani Nalivka to provide participants with heart-healthy education. Dr. Shouping Li provides the program’s direction and medical supervision.

“We think this is a well-rounded program that addresses the needs a cardiac patient might have,” explained Lucero. “It’s not just about making sure that people are OK in the Cardiac Rehab room; it’s about teaching them lifestyle changes that will help them have good heart health for the rest of their lives.”

Humboldt General Hospital’s Cardiac Rehab Program requires a physician referral. Anyone with a history of heart disease is a prime candidate for the program. Examples of people who could benefit are those who have had a heart attack, heart surgery, congestive heart failure, angioplasty, angina (chest pain), a heart pacemaker or a heart transplant.

Participants decide on a start date in conjunction with their physician. Some patients begin cardiac rehabilitation immediately following cardiac problems. Others wait a few weeks or even months. Participants should discuss their individual situation with their physician.

Cardiac rehabilitation is partially covered by Medicare. Additionally, many health insurance plans will reimburse much of the cost of the program. Participants should check with their insurance company prior to participation to determine the extent of coverage. HGH’s Patient Access staff is available to help.

AACVPR Program Certification is the only peer-review accreditation process designed to review individual programs for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by AACVPR and other professional societies. Each program is reviewed by the AACVPR Program Certification Committee and certification is awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors.

AACVPR-certified programs are recognized as leaders in the field of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation because they offer the most advanced practices available. AACVPR Program Certification is valid for three years.

For more information on Humboldt General Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program, please call HGH Wellness Coordinator Billie Lucero at (775) 623-5222, ext. 1297, or visit with your medical provider. To discuss insurance eligibility, please call the HGH Patient Access Department at (775) 623-5222, ext. 1130.


Founded in 1985, the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the mission of reducing morbidity, mortality and disability from cardiovascular and pulmonary disease through education, prevention, rehabilitation, research and disease management. Central to the core mission is improvement in quality of life for patients and their families. More information is available at aacvpr.org.