“We began back in 1981,” comments Dr. Bruce Iteld, the founding cardiologist with what was then an individual practice. “Over the years, we grew, changed our name to Iteld & Bernstein Cardiology, and practiced in St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans East. In 1998, as our practice grew, we became the Louisiana Heart Center, offering a broad range of cardiac care that ranged from interventional cardiology, treatment for peripheral vascular disease and treatment for heart attacks and congestive heart failure. We were able to help a great many people who placed their trust in our care.
Then, Hurricane Katrina struck and it changed everything. Our newly expanded and renovated offices in New Orleans East were virtually destroyed. Our St. Bernard office was inundated with water and mud. Our patients were scattered from Georgia and Alabama to Texas and all across the U.S. Many of our own staff had to evacuate to other cities. We were simply shut down and unable to provide care. It was a very confusing time,” Dr. Iteld reflects.
In January of 2006, Louisiana Heart Center issued a direct mail postcard to all known addresses for their former patients. While many of those addresses no longer existed or were occupied, the postal service forwarded the cards to the new address for each patient. ”We now have about 70% of our former patients back with us in addition to the new patients we serve in our four locations…Covington, Hammond, Slidell and LaPlace,” comments Dr. Bernstein.
Louisiana Heart Center now serves the following locations Slidell, Covington, Hammond, and Bogalusa. The Louisiana Heart Center has expanded services as well as locations post Katrina. Among their services are in-office Nuclear Stress Tests that offers a very precise view of the condition of the heart. The Center, through its hospital affiliations, provides cardiac catheterization, placement of stents, angioplasty, pacemaker implantation and other cardiovascular services.
Today, Dr. Iteld and Bernstein are joined by Dr. Keith G. Hickey, Dr. Frank Voelker, Dr. Richard Colón, Dr. Pramod Menon, Dr. Umesh Patel and Dr. Frank Arena, and are supported by a staff of over 60 employees who embrace the very personal spirit of care that Louisiana Heart Center was founded upon back in 1981.
Summing up where they are today as a center of Cardiac excellence, Dr. Bernstein comments, “We’re what you might call patient advocates. We take care of the whole patient and do our best to help guide them through the often confusing choices and insurance rules and regulations that affect their ability to get needed healthcare. I believe that this approach to care is greatly appreciated by our cardiac patients…it’s what helps make them so loyal to us.”