MedStar Washington Hospital Center is the first hospital in the Washington region to be certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. The Hospital Center joins an elite group of over 100 medical centers nationwide to receive this prestigious designation, which focuses on providing a high level of care for patients with the most severe and challenging types of strokes and cerebrovascular disease.
Comprehensive Stroke Centers are recognized as industry leaders and are responsible for setting the standard in highly specialized stroke care nationwide. Certification is reserved for those institutions that have state-of-the-art capabilities and the expertise of stroke neurology, neurosurgery, including in neuroendovascular procedures, neurocritical care and stroke-specialty trained nursing and other staff who together have demonstrated in providing coordinated and consistent high quality care to treat patients with the most complex strokes.
To achieve the recognition, MedStar Washington Hospital Center underwent a rigorous on-site review, when Joint Commission surveyors reviewed compliance with all comprehensive stroke center standards and requirements.
“We are extremely proud to have been recognized by the Joint Commission with their highest distinction for stroke care,” said Amie Hsia, MD, medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “This certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center highlights our position as a leader in stroke care for the region and the exceptional care we provide to our patients who come from all over the Washington, D.C., area and beyond.”
MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Stroke Program has an established track record of progressive and innovative stroke care. In 2004, it forged a partnership with the National Institutes of Health to establish a stroke research program at the hospital with a focus on using MRI to develop new treatments for acute stroke. In 2005, the Stroke Center was also the first in Washington, D.C. to earn the Joint Commission’s designation as a Primary Stroke Center. Furthermore, in 2013, the Hospital Center co-led the successful application to be among the first 25 regional coordinating centers nationwide of the new National Institutes of Health-funded Stroke Trials network, or NIH StrokeNet.
Most recently, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognized MedStar Washington Hospital Center's Stroke Center with its 2020 Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and Target: Stroke SM Elite and Advanced Therapy Honor Rolls for getting eligible stroke patients the clot-busting drugs within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital. The honor roll was achieved by using MRI screening, a technique that is not widely practiced at other stroke centers. The Hospital Center is one of the few in the nation to use MRI as first line imaging in the diagnosis and treatment of acute stroke. CT is the typical imaging method used because it is more widely available.
“This advanced certification demonstrates MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s level of commitment in caring for patients with complex stroke conditions,” says Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process, and we commend the Hospital Center stroke program for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”
The Joint Commission’s 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.
The MedStar Washington Hospital Center Comprehensive Stroke Center Program engages expertise from our teams of board-certified vascular neurologists, neuro-interventionists, vascular neuro-surgeons, neuro-radiologists, neuro-intensivists, neuro-rehabilitation medicine (physiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy) and stroke specialty trained nurses.
What do these accomplishments mean for our patients? This means we have made dedicated efforts and follow the national standards, guidelines and protocols that are designed to significantly improve the long-term outcomes and recovery for our stroke patients.
In addition, MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a leader with its NIH-funded stroke clinical research programs:
The Joint Commission collaborates with the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA) to develop performance measures for Primary Stroke Centers, the first advanced-level certification program that is designed to recognize primary stroke centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke patient care. MedStar Washington Hospital Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award for 9 consecutive years by reaching the goal of treating stroke patients with 85% or higher compliance to core standard levels of care.
All patients eligible for tPA, the only FDA-approved treatment for acute stroke, at MedStar Washington Hospital Center are treated. Source document: MedStar Washington Hospital Center Stroke Program Concurrent Review Data.
What are we measuring? The percentage of patients with an ischemic stroke (blood supply to the brain is blocked) that arrive to the emergency department who are eligible to receive tPA (clot dissolving medicine) to potentially reverse the effects of an acute stroke.
Why is it important? tPA is a medication that is “clot-busting” and can potentially reverse the symptoms and effects of ischemic strokes which must be given within the first 4.5 hours of the start of symptoms. Because of this narrow window of time and the unavailability of acute stroke management services, the nationwide average for this treatment is less than 5%.
MedStar Washington Hospital Center Stroke Program is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center receiving its certifications from The Joint Commission. The Joint Commission’s stroke (STK) developed measures in collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA)/Brain Attack Coalition (BAC) for use by Disease-Specific Care (DSC)-certified primary stroke centers.
In 2020, MedStar Washington Hospital Center received the Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll after reducing Door-to-Needle (DTN) times to 60 minutes or less in greater than 75% eligible ischemic stroke patients. It also received the Target: Advanced Therapy Honor Roll for meeting quality measures for door-to-start of revascularization. Additionally, it was recognized with the Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll for achieving more than 90 percent compliance with the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score" for 12 consecutive months.