Our History

In 1995, a group of 20 physicians who were cardiologists, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons came together to bring a new standard of heart and vascular care to Bakersfield. After thoughtful planning, they developed a strategy for a specialized heart hospital and the concept of a 47-bed hospital dedicated to patient-focused care was realized.

Founding physicians recruited the very best staff from all over Bakersfield to build the hospital from the ground up. In 1999, Bakersfield Heart Hospital opened its doors with 47 beds, three Operating Rooms and four cardiac catheterization lab procedure rooms.

Founding physicians (L-R)

Peter Nalos, MD; Brij Bhambi, MD; Denis Maddox, MD

Bakersfield Heart Hospital 20 Years Later

Twenty years later, it’s hard to find someone in the area who doesn’t know someone who has received excellent healthcare from the service-oriented culture that is Bakersfield Heart Hospital (BHH). Being a smaller facility fosters a positive and highly engaged team. Leadership is very accessible and the family atmosphere can be felt by patients and their families.

Many changes have occurred over its twenty years of existence. When women were identified as being treated the same as men for heart attack care, BHH developed the Women’s, Heart Center. The center was devoted to screening and educating women on heart disease and the difference between heart attack symptoms in men and women. Many heart attacks have been averted due to the education women in the community have received and the center is now – at the insistence of their female patients – providing the same services for men.

As BHH saw the community grow, it was decided to not only focus on heart care but other areas where the need was greatest. After hearing patients were waiting weeks for wound care appointments, BHH developed the Center for Wound Healing. Patients are now able to receive life-enhancing wound care treatments before wounds become life-threatening.

With an active community needing hips and knees replaced, BHH developed the Center for Joint Replacement. Patients attend a “Joint Camp” where they learn all about their procedure – pre-operative, during and post-operative. BHH believes informed patients can more easily become active participants on their own healthcare team.

BHH’s relationship with Central Cardiology Medical Center, which resides on the BHH campus, has allowed BHH to be at the forefront when it comes to new treatments to benefit patients. The most recent involves the Zephyr Valve. This first minimally-invasive device approved in the United States is used to treat patients with severe emphysema, a progressive and life-threatening form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

One thing that has remained a constant at BHH is the culture. It’s been said by patients and visitors when they enter the building they can feel something special. Take a walk through the hospital and you’ll encounter staff smiling, going the extra mile, and a sense that staff want to be there making a difference.

It takes heart to be part of this top-notch team— with the help of their physician partners, they have garnered several accolades throughout the years. In 2019, BHH was the first in the county to become an Accredited Chest Pain and Heart Failure Center – both under one roof.

At the end of the day, you want to know that as a patient you are of utmost importance to the facility and the people caring for you. That’s why Bakersfield Heart Hospital puts their hearts into caring for you.