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VU Stroke Center attains new level of certification

Jul. 24, 2013, 9:21 AM

Members of the Vanderbilt Stroke and Cerebrovascular Service include, from left, Kiersten Brown-Espaillat, DNP, J.J. “Buddy” Connors, M.D., Derek Riebau, M.D. (seated), Howard Kirshner, M.D., Anne O’Duffy, M.D., J Mocco, M.D., M.S., Lori Jordan, M.D., Michael Froehler, M.D., and Lisa Hermann, M.D. (photo by Joe Howell)

The Vanderbilt Stroke and Cerebrovascular Service has received advanced certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, one of only four in Tennessee.

This new level of certification was created in September 2012, recognizing the significant resources in infrastructure, staff and training that comprehensive stroke centers must have to provide state-of-the-art complex stroke care.

To receive the advanced certification, institutions must meet requirements for volume of cases, advanced imaging capabilities, post-hospital care coordination for patients, a dedicated neuro intensive care unit, a peer review process, participation in stroke research and performance measures.

“There is no higher stroke certification. And no deeper commitment to stroke patient care,” according to the accreditors.

To date, 50 institutions nationwide have met the criteria.

“We in the Vanderbilt Stroke Center are very pleased to achieve this certification, as it recognizes what we do in acute stroke treatment, secondary stroke prevention and stroke rehabilitation. This is truly a team effort,” said Howard Kirshner, M.D., professor of Neurology and director of the Vanderbilt Stroke Center.

Accredited by the Joint Commission since 2005, the Vanderbilt Stroke Center has been honored with a Gold Plus Award by the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke program for excellence in stroke care. The center also participates in the Stroke Belt Consortium, the Delta Stroke Task Force, the American Stroke Association and clinical drug studies sponsored by the industry and the National Institutes of Health.

The Vanderbilt Stroke Center strives to exceed national standards of care for stroke. The standard benchmark set by the Joint Commission for the complication rate for carotid endarterectomy and carotid artery stenting (two surgical procedures used to prevent stroke) is below 6 percent. Vanderbilt far exceeds this standard with a complication rate of 2.9 percent. The goal for the time from a stroke code to a patient receiving head imaging is 25 minutes, but Vanderbilt averaged 16 minutes in June.

According to a Joint Commission statement, “The goal of establishing this new level of certification is to recognize the significant differences in resources, staff and training that are necessary for the treatment of complex stroke cases. We also anticipate that, over time, municipalities and regions will develop a formal referral network so the most complicated cases can be treated at the centers best equipped to provide the specialized care that can lead to better outcomes.”

The Vanderbilt Stroke and Cerebrovascular Service faculty include Kirshner, J Mocco, M.D., M.S., Michael Froehler, M.D., Ph.D., J.J. “Buddy” Connors, M.D., Anne O’Duffy, M.D., Derek Riebau, M.D., Lisa Hermann, M.D., Lori Jordan, M.D., and Kiersten Espaillat, DNP.

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