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Published on July 11, 2017

Gundersen Priority One adds new program manager

Josh Marler, MS, understands the importance of quick, coordinated regional care for heart attack patients. The new program manager for Gundersen Health System's Priority One Heart Attack Program has more than 20 years of experience in Cardiology, most recently as director and senior program analyst for Regional Heart Doctors in Rapid City, SD.

Josh Marler, MS, Gundersen Priority One

Josh Marler, MS, Gundersen Priority One

"What is now the program manager role had most recently been a part-time job, but coordinating numerous regional partners—critical access hospitals, air and ground services, and dispatch, to name a few—is complex and potentially involves dozens of people for a single case," Josh says. "We do well currently to coordinate people and places for Priority One, but a goal is to take the current state, maintain consistency and make sure it excels every time."

In addition to Priority One, Josh's role includes work for Gundersen Heart Institute.

"Josh's expertise in new program development, thorough analytical skills and passion for quality improvement, will greatly benefit our work and the care we provide our patients," says Nada Ghandour, MD, MBA, administrative director, Gundersen Heart Institute.

Priority One—the first program of its kind in Wisconsin when it launched more than 10 years ago—partners with 16 local emergency departments to assess, stabilize, transport and treat heart attack patients.

Once a patient is stabilized by a regional partner and then transported to Gundersen in La Crosse, they are taken immediately to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Gundersen's heart specialists are available 24 hours a day for primary percutaneous intervention (PCI), such as coronary artery balloon angioplasty and stenting. Cardiac surgery is also available. Since Priority One began, Gundersen has treated more than 1,200 patients.

If your facility would like to be considered as a Priority One regional partner, contact Josh or Nada Ghandour, via MedLink at (800) 336-5465 or locally at (608) 775-5465.

Our Priority One Heart Attack Program regional partners:

  • Black River Memorial Hospital, Black River Falls, Wis.
  • Crossing Rivers Health, Prairie du Chien, Wis.
  • Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics, Boscobel, Wis.
  • Gundersen Onalaska Clinic Urgent Care, Onalaska, Wis.
  • Gundersen Palmer Lutheran Hospital and Clinics, West Union, Iowa
  • Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics, Hillsboro, Wis.
  • Gundersen Tri-County Hospital and Clinics, Whitehall, Wis.
  • Mile Bluff Medical Center, Mauston, Wis.
  • Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare, Sparta, Wis.
  • Regional Health Services of Howard County, Cresco, Iowa
  • Richland Hospital, Richland Center, Wis.
  • Tomah Memorial Hospital, Tomah, Wis.
  • Vernon Memorial Hospital, Viroqua, Wis.
  • Veterans Memorial Hospital, Waukon, Iowa
  • Winneshiek Medical Center, Decorah, Iowa
  • Winona Health, Winona, Minn.
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