Horizon Health Offers Full-Time Cardiology Services

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  • Written By: Horizon Health

Horizon Health is now offering full-time cardiology services with the addition of Donna Kerns, family nurse practitioner, who specializes in cardiovascular conditions.

Donna provides education and treatment options for congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), chest pain, high blood pressure, and cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart). She also offers treatments for high cholesterol and coronary artery disease while working closely with the cardiac rehab program.

Donna also manages the new Coumadin Clinic, which is for patients who take Coumadin or other type of blood-thinning medication. At the clinic she monitors lab work and ensures patients are educated on proper dosing instructions.

Additionally, Donna provides coronary calcium screenings to determine a patient’s risk for coronary artery disease. A coronary calcium scoring (heart scan) may be ordered. The test is performed through a CT scan by the radiology department to determine whether calcium deposits are narrowing the coronary arteries. Donna consults with patients afterward to discuss the results and recommends further action if necessary.

“There is a need for cardiac care in rural areas,” Donna said. “We are conveniently located at Horizon Health so people don’t have to travel far to receive these comprehensive and much-needed services.”

According to Horizon Health’s 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment, the death rate due to heart disease in Edgar County is 43 percent higher than the state average (adjusted as 249.6 people per 100,000 population). Edgar County had the highest death rate among the six counties listed in the report (Clark, Coles, Crawford, Douglas, Edgar, and Vermillion).

CHF Clinic

Donna operates Horizon Health’s new Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Clinic. The clinic provides specialized care and education for patients diagnosed with CHF, a condition in which the heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

The CHF Clinic treats patients in an office setting, those who are admitted to the hospital, as well as residents at area nursing homes. The CHF Clinic helps patients better understand their condition and how to manage their health through a personalized treatment plan that utilizes pharmacists, dieticians, cardiac rehabilitation services, and social services.

CHF patients at Horizon Health are treated on a weekly basis. The service includes an overall health assessment, the ordering of tests and medications, and ensuring patients follow a heart-healthy diet. Follow-up work is done to ensure patients are taking their medications, monitoring their weight, and more.

“Our goal is keep people out of the hospital by working with them to better manage their care,” Donna explained. “There is a great need in this area for congestive heart failure management and providing people with the resources they need.”

About Donna Kerns

Donna joined Horizon Health in July 2018. She has 15 years of nursing experience. For eight years she worked as a nursing care manager for outpatient telemetry units, a catheterization lab, and an intermediate/stepdown unit at hospitals in Terre Haute. She worked as an emergency department nurse for seven years.

Donna has a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University in Indianapolis. She is a member of the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Coalition of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of Indiana.

Donna was born and raised in Terre Haute. She currently lives in West Terre Haute. She has a son, Beau, age 20. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and exercising.

Donna sees patients in the Paris Clinic Monday through Thursday, from 8 am to 4:30 pm, and Friday, from 8 am to noon. A referral is not required, but preferred, to see Donna. Call (217) 466-4040.