Southcoast Health receives Get With the Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor

FALL RIVER, Mass. – Southcoast Health today announced that it has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke℠ Honor Roll. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

“We are excited to be recognized for our excellence in the treatment of this devastating illness,” said Brian Tsang, MD, Medical Director of the Emergency Department of Charlton Hospital, a part of Southcoast Health. “Getting this far has been the result of hard work by ED nursing, radiology, pharmacy, and local EMS services, as well as by ED physicians. These cases come down to a race against the clock, and though we get scored on our averages, we reset the clock every day, and see every new stroke victim as a chance to do better than before.”

To receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, 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 achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

“It is especially exciting to see the new data on intra-arterial therapy, and begin to incorporate this into our approach,” said Tsang. “We hope that someday soon, strokes will be as treatable as heart attacks or infections, and that more of our patients will be able to make full recoveries.”

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 tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.

“We are pleased to recognize Southcoast Health for their commitment to stroke care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and Executive Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce length of stay and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparities in care.”

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

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.