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Cardiologist launches unique direct heart-care practice in Billings

Dr. Hua
Posted at 5:19 PM, May 29, 2024

BILLINGS - A Billings cardiologist has opened up a new direct heart-care practice to offer patients a more efficient way to receive treatment.

The practice, called Peds Happy Hearts, is located at 960 S. 24th St. W. and has already served over 50 patients in less than a year.

It was started by Dr. Nancy Hua, who spent 10 years working as a cardiologist in bigger hospitals, including Billings Clinic, before deciding she wanted to create her own practice that she says will improve her relationship with patients.

Hua said the goal of the unit is to speed up patient examinations and cut down on the time it takes to set up appointments or receive referrals.

"I've seen where patients will have to take weeks to months to actually see a specialist," Hua said. "I think it's important because I feel like as a cardiologist, if you have a heart concern, instead of going to urgent care or the ER, I want you to come in and be seen right away."

Hua at her desk

That goal was on full display this year when she helped 12-year-old patient Stella Lundgren receive care in a short timeframe. Stella's mother, Chelsea Lundgren, said her daughter started having heart problems while at wrestling practice.

"She's a relatively healthy kid for the majority of her life," Lundgren said. "She was starting to complain about her heart just feeling like it was beating really fast, and then she had an episode at wrestling practice and almost passed out."

After that scary moment, Lundgren knew she needed to get her daughter in to see a specialist. She feared what would happen from waiting too long to set up an appointment through a larger provider.

"It can be a lengthy process to get to specifically a pediatric cardiologist," Lundgren said. "I just knew that could take a lot of time and add to our anxiousness."

Stella Lundgren

Fortunately, she had run into Hua at a wellness conference earlier in the year. Two days after reaching out to Hua for help, she and Stella were walking into her office for her appointment.

"Getting into a specialty that quickly, especially with a child, it just takes away a lot of stress," Lundgren said. "Just makes it so much easier to rule things out for a parent."

That's exactly what Hua has hoped to accomplish. Her service runs on a fee-based approach, meaning that patients pay upfront and out of their own pocket for whatever care they will be receiving. Hua said that depending on their provider, insurance will cover the cost of the appointment after the fact.

But Hua added her primary goal is to provide quick and efficient care for Billings and the entire state. So far, she's the only direct cardiovascular unit in the state.

"My biggest goal is to create a one-stop cardiology care," Hua said. "And I think that's important because catching these issues early on can be life-saving."