time treating cardiovascular patients. After 20 years as a cardiac specialist in
Atlanta, Dr. Vega found he spent more time stuck in traffic as he traveled
between two medical offices and three hospitals. Surely a smaller community
would allow him more time to practice medicine and improve patients health.
A medical recruiter from Fairview Park Hospital came across Dr. Vegas
resume and made a call that ultimately led to Fairviews Heart Catherization
and Intervention program and the birth of Dublin-Macon Cardiology, P.C.
Now partnered with Dr. Joseph E. DeJunco, Dr. Vega definitely spends
more time with his patients. On recent visit to the practice at 206A Hospital
Drive in Dublin, patients spent little time in the waiting room.
But patient care is what Dublin-Macon Cardiology is all about.
We made a commitment to the patients when we moved here that we
would be available 24/7, said Ingrid Vega, business manager and wife of Dr.
Vega. What the practice brings to the region is ready access to cardiac health
care - something many rural - and especially southern communities are
forced to do without.
However there is no shortage of advanced cardiac technology and
treatment at Dublin-Macon Cardiology. Together, Dr. Vega and Dr. DeJunco
are the physicians that patients see after they have been diagnosed with a
heart condition. Both cardiologists perform heart catherizations and Dr. Vega
also performs interventional cardiology (stents), defibrillator implants,
peripheral angioplasty, pacemaker implants and more.
Bringing state of the art cardiac care close to home is Dublin-Macon
Cardiologys slogan - and that is something Vega sees as an advantage for
It just makes sense that patients see a local physician, said Vega. There
is less time missed at work than if they drove to Savannah or Macon to see a
cardiologist. And, if a heart patient ended up in the emergency room, a
doctor from Macon would not be available to come to the ER to see them. We
have the best cardiac care right here and were available 24/7.
Since practicing in Dublin, Dr. Vega was instrumental in Laurens County
being awarded a C-Port registry - a nationwide study launched by the Johns
Hopkins Heart Institute whereby Cardiovascular Patient Outcomes Research
Teams (C-PORT) compare the outcomes of therapeutic angioplasty and stent
procedures in elective patients treated in community-based hospitals.
In an economy where many community-based hospitals are
consolidating their services, Vega believes healthcare in Laurens County is
We are fortunate to have an HCA hospital (Hospital Corporation of
America) here, said Vega. HCA supports specialized services at Fairview and
thats good for the community.
However, a troubled economy has had an affect on patients health
insurance. Vega said she has noticed more patients have lost their healthcare
insurance - a sign of a weakened economy and even more troubling for
patients who must maintain a regimen of healthcare.
They lose their job and then they lose their health insurance, said Vega.
So we try to work with them anyway we can. We try to keep the costs down
and work out a payment plan that works for them. We work with them on
their prescriptions to get them more affordable medications through generic
prescriptions or drug assistance programs. We give them samples when we
get them. It is important that they maintain optimal healthcare. We work with
all our patients regarding their financial situations because their health is the
most important thing.
The Centers for Disease Control report that heart disease is the leading
cause of death in Georgia, accounting for nearly 30 percent of deaths in the
state. Historically, southern states have a higher percentage of patients with
heart disease due to lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure and
cholesterol, smoking, dietary choices and sedentary lifestyles. In 2006, the
CDC reported that nearly 20 percent of Georgians use tobacco, nearly 25
percent had not exercised in the last 30 days, and nearly 62 percent were
overweight or obese.
To combat those trends, the Georgia Division of Public Health (DPH),
Department of Human Resources (DHR) began receiving funds from the CDC
in 1998 to support a statewide heart disease and stroke prevention program.
At Dublin-Macon Cardiology, education is important - and patients hear
about it from the physicians and their staff.
We work with our patients to educate them about heart health, and that
includes prevention education, said Vega. Our mission is to provide our
patients with the best care close to home and provide ongoing cardiac
healthcare so they can live an optimal life.
Dublin-Macon Cardiology is located on Hospital Drive behind Fairview
Park Hospital and can be reached at 478-272-3525.