On July 4, 2016, at age 51, John Anderson had a surprise heart attack.

The CEO of Quad City Bank & Trust had a family history of heart disease — his father died of a heart attack at 50 and his mother at 55.

“I was very mindful that it could happen, but honestly, you’re never prepared for it,” Anderson said Wednesday, in the Genesis Heart Institute Lobby, Davenport, after announcing a new program funded by Anderson and QCBT to support Genesis mental health services for cardiac patients.

John Anderson spoke about his life-altering heart attack and mental health care at Genesis Heart Institute Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022 (photos by Jonathan Turner).

“I was very blessed and very fortunate; obviously I’m here today to be able to talk about it,” he said. “Where my gratitude began is from the care I received at Genesis.”

If anything during COVID, what we’ve learned is “that are our healthcare providers are heroes,” Anderson said. “For me that day, on July 4, I had heroes all around me. Those nurses took care of me.”

Since his treatment, his diet is significantly more heart-healthy and he lost 50 pounds. “I knew that I had to change my life,” he said.

More than 40% of cardiac patients experience behavioral health problems, such as depression, anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Anderson was among those 40%, experiencing panic attacks in the middle of the night.

“I was grateful, because I had an employer who provides great health insurance,” he said Wednesday, noting he received vital mental health care.

Because of his experience with Genesis, Anderson told Missy Gowey, executive director of the Genesis Foundation.

“We have world-class healthcare at Genesis,” he said, crediting his cardiologist, Edmund Coyne, the head of Cardiovascular Medicine, P.C., and Steve Kopp, Ph.D, licensed mental health counselor and director of Genesis Psychology Associates.

Anderson and Quad City Bank & Trust have generously supported expansion of mental health services at Genesis.

“How do we take our health care program and make it even better? That’s what this program is about,” Anderson said of expanding mental health services. He called Jackie Madunic, the licensed independent social worker (LISW) who heads it, “an amazing rock star.”

“They found a way to make it better and serve more people,” he said. “For me, the measure of success would be if one person was saved or made better.”

The two-year-old program at Genesis already has served over 2,000 cardiac patients, Anderson said.

“Jackie, I don’t know how you do it. This person deserves a huge award,” he said.

Jackie Madunic, a social worker who heads the new cardiac mental health program, with Dr. Steve Kopp, director of Genesis Psychology Associates (photo by Todd Mizener).

“Those with heart disease or certain risk factors for developing it, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, or diabetes, may be advised by their doctor to make lifestyle modifications,” Madunic said.

“At Genesis, a collaborative care team works with heart patients to develop a tailored plan to help prevent heart disease or slow its progression.”

New behavioral health services

The outpatient behavioral health services are provided at Genesis Heart Institute, at the Genesis East campus. This outreach program has placed a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) on site (Madunic) to help identify and treat one of the neediest populations at a critical time in their care.

“Quad City Bank & Trust was founded on the idea of community. After experiencing a life-altering cardiac event myself, I soon realized there was a huge, unfilled community need for mental health care for patients who experience cardiac events,” Anderson said.

Dr. Ed Coyne, president of Cardiovascular Medicine, P.C., spoke at the Genesis Heart Institute event.

“When presented with this opportunity, in conjunction with Genesis Health System, QCBT did not hesitate to provide a major corporate gift to help Genesis provide essential mental health services to our community. We are thrilled to see this program materialize and to have had a hand in facilitating the process,” he said.

“Now, mental health resources are just a few steps away from where patients receive world-class healthcare services from Genesis’ top-notch physicians, nurses, and staff as they recover both physically and emotionally. It’s unique when you serve as a conduit to fill community needs. It has been an emotional and humbling journey that brings me great joy.”

The program runs with generous support of QCBT (the amount was not disclosed) through the Genesis Foundation.

Missy Gowey is executive director of the Genesis Foundation.

“Collaboration, we all know, is the key to solving problems and this is especially true when we’re trying to tackle our community’s most pressing health challenges,” Gowey (head of the Genesis Foundation) said Wednesday.

“We also have to think about the next 5, 10, 20 years of a patient’s life,” Dr. Coyne, president of Cardiovascular Medicine, said of mental health issues patients face. “Not only does that detract from the quality of their life, but also from their medical outcomes. So, it’s a serious underserved area in cardiology.”

Better access to services

Genesis has great resources, including providers, but if people don’t have access to those resources, it doesn’t do much good, Dr. Coyne said.

Dr. Coyne, a cardiologist, spoke at the Wednesday press conference.

“By having Jackie, outpatients now have access to that health system,” he said. He also noted a case where the wife of a cardiac patient was helped with mental health by Madunic.

Michael Malloy is a 52-year-old Genesis cardiac patient who had quadruple bypass heart surgery this past April. He sought counseling services, was referred to Madunic, and called her an excellent, supportive listener. She helped him with a plan for how to prepare and recover from the surgery.

“The techniques Jackie worked with me to regain my focus were absolutely life-saving,” Malloy (who’s worked in healthcare his whole career) said Wednesday. “There were times I felt my heart would explode if I didn’t realize some of those techniques. The concentration and relaxation really set the stage for everything.”

Michael Malloy, 52, had quadruple bypass surgery at Genesis in late April.

Madunic also helped him managed his family’s expectations.

“I was able to put my mind in the right place before the surgery — not have anxiety,” Malloy said. “I honestly believe that’s why the surgery went as well as it did. I was in the hospital for three days.” And he was walking two miles a day within two weeks of the surgery.

He had no history of heart disease, and while adopted, is not sure what his family history is. He even told the staff his Genesis experience “was almost fun.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better situation,” Malloy said. “I am very, very proud and very, very fortunate for the situation I had here at Genesis.”

“It exceeded my expectations,” he said later, noting some of his stress triggered rheumatoid arthritis. “You can’t take steroids after having a bone broken, so I had to take over-the-counter pain meds for two and a half months.”

Malloy said that Madunic literally kept him alive. “I feel better than I have in 30 years,” he said.

Constant improvement

“We are constantly committed to quality improvement, and that it is never more important than when it comes to the health and safety of our patients,” Dr. Kopp said. He said he’s dreamed of a program like this for over a decade.

Within the first couple weeks following a cardiac event, 15% of patients have significant clinical depression, and another 25% experience milder symptoms of depression and anxiety. In a landmark study, the continued presence of depression after recovery increased mortality risk to 17% within six months after the heart attack (vs. 3% without depression).

Dr. Steve Kopp is a licensed mental health counselor and director of Genesis Psychology Associates.

In the case of PTSD, there is a 55% increase in the risk of cardiac-related mortality. However, when treated for their PTSD, patients live approximately 3.5 times longer than those not treated. The literature goes beyond linking behavioral health with increased survival and is associated with decreased medical costs.

“We can change lives and save lives, and make the quality of life for these individuals so much better,” Dr. Kopp said.

After hearing Anderson’s story, he was inspired to make this program happen.

“Thank you for your generosity,” Kopp told the bank president. “That showed such character and integrity.”

“Many people will struggle with mental illness silently,” he said. “These conditions are scary.”

Kopp said the hardest part of his job is though they’ve made progress in improving mental healthcare, only to meet the wall of access. “We are overwhelmed by the need that our population has post-pandemic, but I’m extremely proud to say that this program enables us to put services in play when they are necessary — not waiting two months to get in.”

Psychology Associates has expanded staffing, and Genesis recently added a new psychiatrist, Kopp said. “That is a big win for the health system. There is a 200,000 provider deficit for psychiatry, and we just got one,” he said. “That’s a huge win for the community.”

The LISW is the most broad-based and accepted in health insurance coverage, he noted. Psychology Associates now has 15 providers. For more information, click HERE.