February is American Heart Month and according to CDC.gov heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. This heart month, we are honoring two AdventHealth nurses, Cindi and Donna, who have worked nonstop to ensure no heart failure or cardiology patient goes without medical treatment due to an inability to pay.
12 years ago, Cindi and Donna used a grant from the Community Impact Council to create what is now known as the Trina Hidalgo Heart Care Center. Named after Trina Hidalgo, a philanthropist with a passion for underserved patients, the center provides health care to cardiovascular patients without insurance, while also reducing readmission rates and health care costs for all.
Today, it’s the only free, comprehensive clinic in Central Florida for uninsured and underserved patients. At the Trina Hidalgo Heart Care Center low-income patients receive free medical treatment, exams and diagnostics, medication assistance, medical supplies, disease management education and access to other community resources.
The Center exists today because of philanthropic support from committed community members and philanthropists who understand the value it provides to hundreds of patients each year. The Center includes four staff members who served over 900 patients last year.
Cindi says the clinic provides more than just physical health care but focuses on mental health too.
“They come here and think they are going to die; they’re scared. But we always treat patients with respect and give them hope. They don’t want to leave us when they get insurance and tears are shed. We pour our hearts into this and loving the people who come through our doors. The need has grown since the COVID-19 pandemic left many Central Floridians jobless.”
The need for the clinic has grown since the COVID-19 pandemic that left many Central Floridians jobless. Former nurse Chad Smith, a long-time patient at the clinic says that the people there saved his life.
“I had a quadruple bypass and had a massive heart attack, with a diagnosis of stage 4 congestive heart failure. I would have died without this clinic. I didn’t know what I was going to do, I’m too young for Medicare or Medicaid. Cindi took care of me and gave me medicines that I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. Now, I’m back working as a nurse. Cindi and Donna never miss a beat. From the receptionist to the nurses, that whole team is incredible. They listen, they care, and they have a plan.”
Dollars from the community are vitally important to help patients like Chad, recover from a cardiovascular diagnosis. Your dollars will benefit areas like patient assistance, extended services stress tests, CT scans, and other necessary equipment used in other cardiology practices. Make a gift in honor of a loved one and help heal hearts at AdventHealthCardiovascularInstitute.com/Donate.