As the population of Wesley Chapel grows, so does the need for its residents to have access to high-quality medical care.
For those who need the services of a cardiologist, Dr. Binu Jacob, M.D., FACC (Fellow of the American College of Cardiology), and Dr. Ramanath Rao, M.D., FACC, are adding Tuesday morning hours to the schedule at their Pasco Cardiology Associates office located directly across Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. from Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel (FHWC) in the Windfair Professional Center.
As of Mar. 1, Pasco Cardiology Associates is now open on Tuesday mornings, 9 a.m.-noon, in addition to the regular office hours on Thursdays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
“We just see the population of Wesley Chapel growing tremendously and our patients are asking more and more (for us) to be more present in this community,” says Dr. Jacob, who received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the University of Miami (Florida) Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and his Board certification in Cardiology & Heart Failure from the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville.
He returned to the University of Miami in Florida to become Board-certified in Electrophysiology.
Dr. Jacob joined Dr. Rao in 2010 at the Pasco Cardiology Associates office in Zephyrhills and they opened the Wesley Chapel office together in 2012. Dr. Rao earned his M.D. degree from the University of Mysore Medical College in Mysore, India, and completed his Cardiology Fellowship at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in The Bronx, NY.
Both doctors are equipped with the knowledge and skills to handle a range of heart and vascular issues, but as Dr. Jacob explains, they have adopted an approach whereby each of the physicians focus on one particular “system” of a patient’s cardiovascular infrastructure.
“Dr. Rao and I always joke that he’s the ‘plumber’ and I’m the ‘electrician,’” says Dr. Jacob. “He deals with anything heart attack — and heart disease — related, venous disease and vascular disease, so he focuses on your ‘plumbing.’ I focus on the electrical aspects of the heart, electrical pacemakers, defibrillators, or if somebody needs an ablation, where we go into the heart and fix an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). That’s the aspect that I deal with.”
According to the American Heart Association (AHA) website, catheter ablation is a procedure that destroys small areas of heart tissue that are causing irregular heartbeats.
Some of the conditions treated at Pasco Cardiology Associates are: cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), ventricular fibrillation (uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle), peripheral artery disease (obstruction of large arteries), congenital heart disease (defect at birth), stroke, and angina pectoris (chest pain).
Services provided include coumadin clinic (to determine if coumadin, an anticoagulant medication, should be prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots), exercise and nuclear stress tests (where a small amount of a radioactive substance is ingested by a patient to determine blood flow to the heart), electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram (or Echo tests) and Holter monitoring (a Holter monitor is a device worn by a patient and continuously records the heart’s rhythms during normal activity) among others.
Insurance policies issued by most major carriers are accepted, as is Medicare.
An Ounce Of Prevention…
What Dr. Jacob prefers, however is that people take care of their cardiovascular systems before repairs are needed.
He emphasizes prevention and says that it’s important for people to manage their lifestyle and risk factors by controlling what they eat and making regular exercise, such as walking, a part of their routine. “I really try to teach my patients disease prevention,” says Dr. Jacob, who is a Wesley Chapel resident.
For Dr. Jacob, his journey to becoming a cardiologist was something he set out on at an early age, entering medical school at age 19 after applying himself and getting ahead in his secondary education by taking advanced placement courses at Ely High School in Pompano Beach, FL.
Dr. Jacob credits his mother, who worked as a nurse for more than three decades, as a major influence on him.
“She always said, ‘Treat your patients like family,’ so I refuse to see somebody for just a matter of minutes,’’ he says. “I have to take my time and understand where they’re coming from.”
Dr. Jacob adds that he takes a conservative approach to treating his patients, preferring lifestyle adjustments over treatment and, if treatment is needed, always opting for the least invasive procedures possible first.
“Too many people nowadays do a knee-jerk reaction where they want the latest and greatest, but not necessarily what’s beneficial for them,” says Dr. Jacob. “I really advocate to try the conservative things first.”
Hjalma Johnson has been a patient of Pasco Cardiology Associates for four years. He says his heart is in good hands around the clock with Dr. Rao.
“Dr. Rao is a consummate professional,’’ says Johnson. “He does follow-ups and calls to let me know if we need to do anything else and I have his cell phone number and can call him 24/7.”
In addition to Dr. Jacob and Dr. Rao, there’s a team of support professionals at Pasco Cardiology Associates who interact with patients.
Annette Vandenburgh is a medical assistant who makes her professional priority quite clear. “Number one is patient care,” Vandenburgh says. “We’ll do anything for the patient to make sure that everything is taken care of.”
Practice manager Natalie Parsons says patients can help themselves by bringing in their proof of insurance and a picture ID for their first visit and also recommends that you bring in bottles of all of your prescriptions each time you come to the office.
“Then, we can see who is prescribing the medication and when it was last filled,’’ she says.
The “face of the office,” according to his colleagues, is receptionist Joseph Hart. He says making often-anxious patients and their families feel better begins when they come in the door.
“I want them to come in and feel comfortable and assured that they’re going to get the care they’re expecting.”
With the additional availability to Wesley Chapel patients, Dr. Jacob anticipates Pasco Cardiology Associates will become further established as a contributing member of the local medical community.
“As Wesley Chapel grows,” he says. “I want us to grow with it.”
Dr. Rao and Dr. Jacob are affiliated with Adventist Health System’s Florida Hospitals in Hillsborough and Pasco counties (including Florida Hospital Tampa and Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel) and Dr. Jacob is affiliated with Bayfront Health Dade City.
The Wesley Chapel office of Pasco Cardiology Associates is located at 2649 Windguard Cir., Suite 102, in the Windfair Professional Center in Wesley Chapel. For more information or to make an appointment, call 788-0439.