LONG BEACH - For some residents, especially those in the most underserved communities, potential heart disease patients could wait months before being seen for a diagnostic test at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. | VIDEO
Thanks to a grant provided by the Port of Long Beach, patients will soon be able to go to a Long Beach center for those tests, reducing the wait time from six months to one week.
"By increasing access ... we hope to provide not only a more timely diagnosis and treatment of patients of heart disease, but hopefully save many lives in the process," said Richard Espinoza, health deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe.
Port, health and civic officials on Thursday celebrated the grand opening of a new Heart Station cardiopulmonary lab at the Long Beach Comprehensive Health Center, 1333 Chestnut Ave.
The lab, which includes an ultrasound machine and a treadmill, was built with a $661,318.07 grant from the port's Community Mitigation Grant Programs. The programs provide funds to schools, organizations and businesses located in the communities directly affected by pollution generated from the port.
Since 2009, millions of dollars of grants have funded a series of projects that range from air filtration systems to mobile clinics that screen for asthma and respiratory illnesses.
"Those grants are going directly into the community for projects such as this," said Harbor Commission President Susan E. Anderson Wise.
The port gave about $5 million to several medical facilities, including the health center, which serves an estimated 25,000 patients a year.
"We're happy to say that we are going to see our first patients in a couple of weeks," said the health center's Dr. Donna Nagaoka, adding that the lab is expected to open in the first week of March.
To make an appointment at the Heart Station, call 562-599-2153.