Stroke Center Receives Certification
(April 26, 2004) — The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Stroke Center just received certification from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) as a Primary Stroke Center (PSC). It is among the first in the country to apply for and be certified as part of a new campaign designed to raise the level of care provided stroke patients. The Froedtert & the Medical College Stroke Center was surveyed in February and notified in April that it exceeds national criteria and standards. It is the first program in Wisconsin to be specially certified.
“Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin are a unique community health resource and this designation helps distinguish our services. It means we have all the resources and expertise to treat stroke patients from start to finish. We are proud to be one of the first Stroke Centers in the country to be certified,” said William Petasnick, president/CEO of Froedtert Hospital. The Froedtert & the Medical College Stroke Center is one of the first 12 to be certified in the U.S.
As a certified Stroke Center, the Froedtert & the Medical College program demonstrated its ability to provide care from a multi-disciplinary team of neurologists, emergency department specialists, radiologists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, technicians and more all working in a coordinated, collaborative system. To maintain its certification, the Froedtert & the Medical College Stroke Center must document and report its evidence-based patient outcomes at least twice a year.
There are numerous advantages for patients, their families and hospitals that offer a Primary Stroke Center (PSC). Research from the American Stroke Association shows patients receive a higher quality of care more quickly with fewer complications, spend less time in the hospital and less time in rehabilitation. A PSC costs hospitals an average of $10,000 to establish, but the American Stroke Association says it will save the hospital more than $450,000 each year in providing these specialized services in a formal medical protocol. A PSC has reduced morbidity and mortality, reduced costs, provides a safer environment and results in better patient outcomes.
Stroke strikes one person every 45-seconds! Each year, more than 700,000 people experience a stroke, yet the signs and symptoms of stroke are still not widely known and many Americans do not understand it is a medical emergency requiring immediate action, even if the symptoms last only a minute or two. A delay in calling 9-1-1 and the importance of getting the patient to a qualified stroke center can be needlessly devastating. “The public needs to be more aware of stroke symptoms, recognize them as a medical emergency and understand the difference a certified stroke center can make in a patient’s life,” said Wende Fedder, Stroke Nurse Coordinator at Froedtert.
“To confirm that someone has had a stroke is only the beginning and the Stroke Team is the patient’s first line of defense,” said Dr. Michel Torbey, director of the Froedtert & the Medical College Stroke Critical Care Program. Dr. Torbey also reminded people that May is national Stroke Month.
The Joint Commission’s new initiative to certify disease specific units and programs at hospitals is a new trend in healthcare. “We commend these organizations for seeking certification and serving as an example of standardization and, thereby, improving the care stroke patients receive. We look forward to other organizations joining them in making a public commitment to quality and safety,” said Maureen Potter, executive director of the Disease Specific Care certification program at JCAHO.