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Caring For Hearts With Serving Hearts

Island Cardiovascular and Vein Institute’s founder, shares his vision and commitment with the Big Island

Geography is certainly one of Hawai’i’s most considerable virtues. Yet, it can be challenging when residents seek specific medical treatment. In many cases, the only way to find the right specialist is by hopping to a different island. Thankfully, professional visionaries aim to present a solution to that problem. 

Dennis Good and Kristi Yearout moved from Arizona to Hawai’i in 2013 to enjoy paradise and provide quality care to their patients. After spending two years on Oahu, they settled on the Big Island, where Dennis founded the Island Cardiovascular and Vein Institute. Since then, this power couple has worked relentlessly to establish a service accessible to Kona and Hilo. Their goal is to provide quality cardiovascular care in the community and save patients from traveling extensive distances for healthcare. 

Prior to establishing Island Cardiovascular and Vein Institute, options for convenient cardiology and vascular care were limited on the Big Island. Private practices, such as Island Cardiovascular and Vein Institute, play an essential role in the overall health outcomes of patients on the island. “We collaborate with other private practices, hospitals, and medical facilities to provide the best care possible for the community,” says Dennis.

“Hawaii residents would prefer to receive care locally instead of traveling to another island. We want to facilitate that opportunity for patients,” shares Dennis.

Island Cardiovascular and Vein Institute seeks to grow its practice and offer more services in its two offices. Performing procedures in an outpatient setting rather than in a hospital is more convenient and less costly for the patient. While hospitals may be backed up for weeks or even months, private practitioners can expedite the process to help patients recover and get treatment faster. There are still some operations that can only be performed on Oahu or Maui – like open-heart surgery – but now, some less invasive procedures are performed at offices like Island Cardiovascular and Vein Institute. 

Despite being present on the east and west sides of the Big Island, Dennis and Kristi identified another challenge residents face: how often the medical professionals rotate. “Patients who have been here for many years enjoy having the same provider and not having to keep switching. We have a lot of medical professionals that come and go, and it seems like it's hard for patients to establish a relationship. When that provider moves away, the patients must go through that process again,” says Kristi. 

Island Cardiovascular and Vein Institute approaches its medical practices holistically to break that cycle. Patients are more than just medical cases; they are ‘ohana. “The bonds we've formed with these patients are important. Since we've been on this island and worked at different offices, our patients have followed us because we have an established relationship. It says a lot that people trust us. We can be close and still be able to do our job,” Kristi shares.

Dennis and Kristi don’t take this trust lightly. When patients walk into their offices, they often don’t come alone. They bring their whole family to support them. As there’s always fear attached to an unknown situation, Island Cardiovascular and Vein Institute aims to educate individuals on their disease process and treatment options. Understanding what is happening to someone’s body lowers their anxiety and stress. 

“It's ultimately the patient’s decision what they choose to do. When our health goes awry, we don't feel like we're in control, but giving people options provides that,” Kristi adds. This mindset started as a caregiver and continued when she became a nurse practitioner. Now, offering understanding and shared decision-making with her patients is a philosophy that follows her everywhere.

On the other hand, Dennis pursued his medical career because he always admired the intricacies of the heart and its essential role in life. He acquired 21 years of experience in cardiovascular surgery, then obtained his Physician Assistant certification and has been practicing in vascular surgery for 12 years.

Dennis and Kristi are grateful for the ‘ohana they’ve built around them and thank the community for trusting them. Together, they share a passion for motorcycles and wish they could ride as much as they used to when they were back in Arizona. Yet, there’s nothing like riding through the Hawaiian beauty. In their free time, Dennis enjoys hiking and exploring the island, while Kristi prefers walking their three dogs and jogging. “Spearfishing is my therapy, and working out is Kristi’s therapy,” Dennis says.

As we are more than just physical bodies, finding fulfillment and being thankful are equally crucial to being in shape. “Everybody needs something in their life that helps them relieve stress, such as outdoor activities, hula, Zumba, etc. Moving your body is self-care, it’s essential to your entire wellbeing,” Kristi adds. 

Cardiac and vascular care should not wait until our bodies start failing. Critical decisions can improve our quality of life and prevent future issues. “Eating a healthy diet and integrating a regular exercise routine can aid in lowering a person's glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, therefore decreasing their cardiovascular risk,” says Dennis.

Getting out there and enjoying life is good for our heart, emotions, and spirit. We can exercise and watch our diet to steward our health correctly. But if we ever require cardiovascular care, we have the assurance that we have caring professionals on this island who can help us.

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The bonds we've formed with these patients are important.