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UH Case Medical Center awarded highest certification as Comprehensive Stroke Center

University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center has become the first hospital in Northeast Ohio and 19th in the nation to achieve The Joint Commission's standards for Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification, joining 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 all aspects of stroke care and prevention.

The recognition comes from The Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification recognizes those hospitals that have state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes. UH Case Medical Center underwent a rigorous onsite review in November. Joint Commission experts reviewed UH Case Medical Center'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.

"By achieving this advanced certification, University Hospitals Case Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition," said Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP., MPH., President, The Joint Commission. "Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends University Hospitals Case Medical Center for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves."

Warren Selman, MD, Neurosurgeon-in-Chief at UH and Director of the UH Neurological Institute said, "Our physicians, nurses, and staff have worked diligently toward the end of providing the highest quality of stroke care for our patients and Northeast Ohio. We are honored and proud for the recognition of our comprehensive services from The Joint Commission as we continually seek to enhance our stroke services to the community." Dr. Selman also holds the Harvey Huntington Brown, Jr., Professor and Chair, Department of Neurological Surgery, UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

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), 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.

"We are thoroughly committed to providing our patients with the highest quality stroke care based on current scientific research to ensure continuous improvement in care," said Anthony Furlan, MD, Co-director of the UH Neurological Institute and Chair of Neurology at UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification has given us the opportunity to highlight the exceptional stroke care we provide for our patients, and improved care overall for the benefit of our community."

The UH Neurological Institute's Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center is the largest and most experienced program in Northeast Ohio dedicated to caring for stroke patients. UH physicians specialize in managing diseases in patients who are high-risk and the medical center's rehabilitation specialists use state-of-the-art techniques to help speed up recovery. As the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, UH also engages in research aimed at improving care.

Cathy Sila, MD, Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center, said that vascular diseases, including cardiovascular disease and stroke, are the leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in adults and approximately 800,000 people suffer from a stroke each year.

"With expert post-stroke care and stroke rehabilitation, the prospects of recovery from stroke are good for many patients," said Dr. Sila, who is also Professor of Neurology at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and holder of the George Humphrey II Chair in Neurology. "More than half of stroke patients regain functional independence and we continue to conduct research to identify therapies that will improve the outcomes for patients with stroke."

To ensure optimal outcomes for stroke patients, UH's Comprehensive Stroke Center offers a highly experienced team of stroke specialists that includes board-certified vascular neurologists; neurointensivists; interventional neuroradiologists; cerebrovascular neurosurgeons, nursing and support staff experienced in stroke care.

The Center brings together leading experts from a variety of disciplines that collaborate using the latest clinical advances and technologies. Many are involved in nationally funded research that may lead to future innovations in medical care.

The UH system also offers the highest quality of stroke care available in the region through its network community hospitals. UH Ahuja Medical Center, UH Bedford Medical Center, UH Geauga Medical Center, UH Richmond Medical Center and St. John Medical Center are all designated as primary stroke centers. UH is the only system in Ohio with a comprehensive stroke center certification and all of its eligible hospitals designated as primary stroke centers.

Dr. Sila said that UH uses a "hub and spoke" model, with UH Case Medical Center at the center offering around-the-clock access to stroke specialty teams and the community hospitals acting as spokes off that hub. Community hospital emergency medicine teams were trained to evaluate stroke patients for tPA (clot-busting) eligibility, conduct urgent brain imaging scans and consult with UH Case Medical Center stroke specialists to coordinate appropriate treatment plans.

Contact: George Stamatis
University Hospitals Case Medical Center

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