8th GoldPlus Award for Stroke Care

6/09/17 — ATHENS GA ― For the 8th year in a row, St. Mary's Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. In addition, St. Mary's was named to the AHA/ASA Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll for the 6th year in a row.

The awards recognize St. Mary's commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures to receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or Alteplase, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat acute ischemic stroke.

If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, Alteplase has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. St. Mary's earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“A stroke patient loses close to 2 million brain cells each minute stroke treatment is delayed," said Joanne Lockamy, St. Mary's stroke coordinator. "Receiving our eighth consecutive Gold Plus Award for stroke demonstrates our ongoing commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely.”

“Working in close partnership with our medical staff, St. Mary's continues to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients," said Don McKenna, St. Mary's Health Care System president and CEO. "The recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke further reinforces our team’s hard work.”

St. Mary's Hospital has also met specific scientific guidelines as a Primary Stroke Center, featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.

“The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize St. Mary's Hospital for its commitment to stroke care,” said Paul Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program.”

Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke has impacted more than 3 million patients since 2003.

When Val Valencic of Athens dropped a plate and then couldn't speak or write to tell his wife, Bev, that something was wrong, she knew he was having a stroke. Deeply afraid – she and Val had seen several friends spiral downward after strokes – she called 911. EMS rushed the 83-year-old retired facilities engineer to St. Mary's.

Val went straight to diagnostics. A CT scan, bloodwork, and a clinical assessment by St. Mary's neurohospitalist confirmed their fears: it was a stroke. The testing also showed that he had no internal bleeding and so was a candidate for Alteplase. Just 57 minutes after his arrival, Val received the potentially life-saving drug.

The next morning, Bev's heart lifted when she walked toward his hospital room and heard him speaking. Three days after admission, Val went home with no noticeable stroke deficits. A few days later he was back playing golf five days a week with friends and tending to his beautifully manicured yard.

"I'm living like I did before the stroke," Val said. "I owe my life to St. Mary's and Bev."

Be like Bev: When signs of a stroke appear, think FASTFace drooping? Arm weak or numb? Speech slurred or unintelligible? Time to call 911!


About St. Mary's Hospital
St. Mary’s Hospital is the flagship of St. Mary's Health Care System, a three-hospital, nonprofit, faith-based health ministry whose mission is to be a compassionate and transforming healing presence in the communities we serve. Affiliated with Trinity Health, St. Mary's is a certified chest pain center and a gold-plus hospital for stroke care. St. Mary's has a special focus on neurosciences, orthopedics, cardiac care, general medicine/general surgery, and women’s and children’s health.

About Get With The Guidelines®
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org.