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CAPRI Heart & Lung Institute celebrating 30 years

Exercise Specialist Kellie Greenhill (back) checks Gary Hoffmann’s vitals while other clients continue their workouts at CAPRI Heart & Lung Institute in Bremerton. - Photo by Rachel Brant
Exercise Specialist Kellie Greenhill (back) checks Gary Hoffmann’s vitals while other clients continue their workouts at CAPRI Heart & Lung Institute in Bremerton.
— image credit: Photo by Rachel Brant

CAPRI Heart & Lung Institute celebrating 30 years in Kitsap County.

CAPRI Heart & Lung Institute hit the big 3-0 this year.

“But we’re a 30-year-old that’s ready and raring to go,” CAPRI Executive Director Richard Huddy said.

The Cardiac and Pulmonary Research Center of America was started as a nonprofit organization 30 years ago by a group of professionals, with locations in Bremerton, Seattle, Yakima and Portland.

“They said there was a need for a medically supervised exercise program for people who had heart attacks or lung problems,” Huddy said. “They actually gave CAPRI a loan to get started.”

CAPRI is the only cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program in Kitsap County, according to its Web site, and has locations in Bremerton, Poulsbo and Port Orchard.

People are referred to CAPRI by physicians and insurance covers most of the nonprofit’s programs. About 265 people participate in CAPRI programs every month, according to Huddy.

“Some of those are repeaters that we see all year,” he said. “Most of the people who go through this program get lasting benefits out of the program.”

CAPRI’s 12-week cardiac rehabilitation program helps people recover from heart attacks, angina, heart surgery including bypasses and valves, angioplasty and stent insertions, and heart/lung transplants. CAPRI also offers an eight- to 10-week pulmonary rehabilitation program that helps people manage pulmonary conditions such as COPD, emphysema, asthma and pulmonary fibrosis.

Once rehabilitation is done, many clients move on to the cardiac and pulmonary maintenance program to continue improving their health.

Gary Hoffmann, of Bremerton, had a four-way heart bypass three years ago and completed the cardiac rehabilitation program. He still comes to CAPRI every week to participate in the maintenance program.

“If I don’t do this, I’m not going to do anything,” Hoffmann said. “There’s a lot more to it than just going to a regular gym.”

Exercise specialists and cardiopulmonary nurses lead each class and monitor the client’s vital signs throughout the hour-long workout session.

“If something happened to me during exercise, there are people here to help me if I need it,” Hoffmann said. “They’ve been at it a long time and it makes me feel a little more secure.”

Classes also include a 30-minute educational discussion where clients discuss nutrition, medication management, exercise and a variety of other topics.

“For some people that smoke, we help them stop smoking,” Huddy said. “For some people that overeat, we encourage them to stop it.”

CAPRI’s newest program is a 12-week cardiovascular conditioning program that starts in September. It is designed for people who have multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

“There’s just too many people walking around out there that need help and their doctors are blue in the face trying to get them to change,” Huddy said. “We think it’s going to be like a midlife tuneup for people.”

CAPRI receives funding through donations and United Way. The nonprofit has been a United Way Member Agency for at least 16 years and the current economic troubles took a toll on both organizations.

“The United Way got hurt this year, so we had a 30 percent decrease in our United Way funding,” Huddy said. “We’re very grateful for the funding we got. I just can’t say enough about United Way.”

With less money coming in, CAPRI was forced to cut back its hours and the staff agreed to pay cuts.

“Our staff is very dedicated to our patients and each other,” Huddy said. “They were all willing to take a pay cut rather than see someone lose their job.”

Despite the current money woes, CAPRI is going strong after 30 years and Huddy said they’re looking toward the future.

“We’re very proficient with what we do,” he said. “We’ve got these things down cold, so now we’re asking ourselves, ‘What’s next?’”

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