Contact: Keith Herrell
CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center has been recertified by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center, a level of certification reserved for institutions with specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases.
UC Medical Center is home to the UC Neuroscience Institute, one of four institutes of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health. The Institute’s 14 centers and programs, which focus on the primary diseases of the brain and nerves, include the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center.
UC Medical Center first received the Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center designation in 2013, less than a year after it was launched by the Joint Commission in partnership with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and with the guidance of the Brain Attack Coalition. There is no higher stroke certification.
The Joint Commission is a nonprofit organization which accredits over 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. It says 93 organizations to date have achieved Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, which recognizes the significant resources in infrastructure, staff and training that comprehensive stroke centers must have to provide state-of-the-art complex stroke care.
The Joint Commission has a rigorous application process with a number of requirements for advanced certification, including volume of cases, advanced imaging capabilities, post-hospital care coordination of patients, dedicated neuro-intensive care unit (ICU) beds for complex stroke patients, peer review process, participation in stroke research and performance measures.
The certification cycle is effective beginning June 4, 2015. While the Joint Commission reserves the right to alter the duration of the cycle, the certification and cycle are customarily valid for up to 24 months.
“Recertification as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center is a testament to the hard work of our team of caregivers,” says Dawn Kleindorfer, MD, a professor in the UC Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine and co-director of the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center with Mario Zuccarello, MD, Professor and Frank H. Mayfield Chair for Neurological Surgery. “Our team prides itself on providing the best possible care for stroke patients in Greater Cincinnati and beyond.”
“The designation confirms what we have long known: that a person who suffers a stroke, or is at risk of stroke, will receive outstanding care at the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center,” says Zuccarello. “We are especially prepared to take care of the most complex cerebrovascular cases.”
Adds Alicia Harness, RN, stroke nurse coordinator: “UC Medical Center provides the highest quality patient care. Maintaining this certification shows the great impact we have on patient outcomes.”
The Comprehensive Stroke Center, together with the UC Stroke Team and the surgical/interventional neurovascular program, provides a multidisciplinary center for stroke prevention and the treatment of transient ischemic attack (TIA), ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage and subarachnoid hemorrhage, aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, moyamoya disease and other cerebrovascular conditions.
Among the center’s key programs and accomplishments:
• The UC Stroke Team, founded as the first multidisciplinary stroke team in the U.S. during the mid-1980s, provides in-person on-site stroke evaluation for acute stroke therapy around the clock at 15 regional hospitals, as well as consultation at over 20 other regional hospitals.
• In 2012, the UC Neuroscience Institute and UC Medical Center launched a major initiative to bring the expertise of the UC Stroke Team to partner hospitals through telestroke, the use of telemedicine specifically for stroke care.
• UC researchers played a leading role in developing and testing the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, to treat acute ischemic stroke. Such a stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked, typically by a blood clot. Intravenous tPA is the only FDA-approved treatment for stroke caused by a blood clot.
• UC led the largest interventional stroke trial in the world, along with leadership of national treatment studies of intracerebral hemorrhage, genetic studies of intracerebral hemorrhage and aneurysms and the largest ongoing biracial population-based study of stroke in the U.S.
• UC researchers also direct neurorecovery/neuroimaging studies in stroke recovery, participate in the major medical and surgical prevention studies and have an active translational laboratory studying preclinical models of stroke and cerebrovascular disease.