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Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania receives Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

PHILADELPHIA The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) has been recognized by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) as meeting The Joint Commission's standards for Disease-Specific Care Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification, becoming the first center in Philadelphia and among a select few hospitals in the United States to be named as part of an elite group of providers focused on complex stroke care. Comprehensive Stroke Centers are recognized as industry leaders and are responsible for setting the national agenda in highly-specialized stroke care.

In September 2012, The Joint Commission, in collaboration with the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association's Brain Attack Coalition, launched the Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers (CSCs). The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania underwent a rigorous onsite review in October 2012. Joint Commission experts reviewed HUP's compliance with the Comprehensive Stroke Center standards and requirements including advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.

"This accomplishment is truly a result of multidisciplinary and multi-departmental collaboration, as this new level of certification recognizes the significant resources in staff and training that comprehensive stroke centers must have to treat complex stroke," said Scott Kasner, MD, director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at HUP and professor of Neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "The level of commitment to high quality care for this complex population was clearly evident to The Joint Commission's survey team, and we are proud to offer superior care to stroke patients."

In complement to Primary Stroke Centers, Joint Commission-designated Comprehensive Stroke Centers, like the one now certified at HUP, are required to have rapid-response stroke treatment teams; the operation of designated inpatient stroke care units staffed by qualified stroke caregivers; the use of comprehensive, written stroke care protocols; the existence of an integrated system for managing stroke patients; compliance with professional standards and a firm commitment from administrators as well as clinicians to provide up-to-date community education about stroke risks, symptoms and treatment.

Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification was developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and derived from the Brain Attack Coalition's "Recommendations for Comprehensive Stroke Centers," (Stroke, 2005) co-authored by Richard D. Zorowitz, MD, while he served as Medical Director of Inpatient Rehabilitation and Director of Stroke Rehabilitation at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and "Metrics for Measuring Quality of Care in Comprehensive Stroke Centers," (Stroke, 2011), and on recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care.

"By achieving this advanced certification, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition," says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. "Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves."

HUP's stroke center was founded in 1994 and was originally designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission in 2004. In addition to this newly-achieved advanced Comprehensive Stroke Certification at HUP, Penn Medicine's other hospitals Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center received Primary Stroke Center certifications from The Joint Commission in the summer of 2012. This mix of Primary Stroke Centers and the advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center at HUP allows Penn Medicine to address the needs of this complex population in the Delaware Valley and throughout the region.

The Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center's team of neurovascular experts from Neurology, Radiology, Neurosurgery, Vascular Surgery, Emergency Medicine and Nursing provides quality, evidence-based care at the right level and right time, through remote diagnosis via telemedicine, onsite treatment provided at affiliated primary stroke centers, or with advanced neurosurgical or neuroradiological interventions available at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn Medicine extends stroke care to patients throughout the region through the Penn NeuroRescue program, using telemedicine systems to bring expert consultations 24/7 to hospitals in distant locales, and transferring those who need surgery and/or specialized neurointensive critical care to HUP.

"The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association congratulates the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on its Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification," commented Mark J. Alberts, M.D., FAHA, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association spokesperson and incoming Vice-Chair of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Comprehensive Stroke Centers offer a high level of care for patients with the most severe and challenging types of strokes and cerebrovascular disease."


Contact: Kim Menard
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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