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Joint Commission renews Vanderbilt Stroke Center at highest certification

Jan. 11, 2018, 9:34 AM


The Joint Commission has again determined that the Vanderbilt Stroke Center merits the highest certification for providing complex cerebrovascular care.

This marks the third time Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has been designated an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center. Established in 2012 by the Joint Commission in partnership with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, the certifications are awarded for a two-year period.

“We are happy to receive this recertification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and the American Stroke Association,” said Howard Kirshner, MD, director of Vanderbilt Stroke Center. “This is a new era for stroke treatment, and the number of patients treated with both intravenous tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) and intraarterial intervention (mechanical thrombectomy) for acute stroke have increased year by year.”

VUMC’s stroke program underwent an extensive review in October.

“The designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center means that the most acute patients should be brought directly to VUMC for the highest level of treatment for emergency cerebrovascular conditions,” said Michael Froehler, MD, PhD, director of the Cerebrovascular Program.

Requirements include having a dedicated neurointensive care unit, the use of advanced imaging capabilities, meeting measured performance guidelines, coordinating when patients leave the hospital and participating in stroke research.

“This certification demonstrates the Vanderbilt Stroke Center’s commitment to excellence in stroke care,” said Kiersten Espaillat, DNP, Stroke Program manager. “The team has dedicated ourselves to the mission of delivering the highest quality care for all patients and their families.”

The Vanderbilt Stroke Center also in 2017 achieved the American Stroke Association’s Honor Roll-Elite Plus recognition. The designation is given in recognition for performance beyond the requirements of the American Stroke Association’s Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. It is based on time metrics and quality measures, particularly the delivery of the clot-buster tPA, when appropriate, within 45 minutes of a patient entering the emergency department. Reaching that benchmark requires teamwork across hospital units.

“We could not continue to be recognized for our excellent comprehensive stroke care if it weren’t for our amazing providers and staff,” said Candace Tillquist, MA, MMHC, associate operating officer, Neurosciences Patient Care Center. “I want to especially thank Kiersten and our physician leadership: Dr. Kirshner, our medical director, and Dr. Froehler, our associate medical director and director of the Cerebrovascular Interventional Service.”

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