Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, Wichita’s Comprehensive Stroke Center, has received a Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus.
The award, given by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, recognizes hospitals with a demonstrated commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment, using nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.
“A stroke patient loses nearly 2 million neurons every minute that stroke treatment is delayed,” said Saad Kanaan, MD, medical director for the Via Christi Comprehensive Stroke Center. “We’re pleased to see our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely recognized in this manner, but most proud of the patient lives saved and the quality of life preserved through prompt and appropriate treatment.”
To qualify for Gold Plus recognition, 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 qualify for Elite Plus recognition, 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. Via Christi 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.
Get With The Guidelines®-S 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, it has impacted more than 3 million patients since 2003.
In 2012, The Joint Commission, in collaboration with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, introduced certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, or CSC — an even more elite standard of care designation.
In March 2016, Ascension Via Christi St. Francis was recognized by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, the second healthcare organization in Kansas to join this elite group of industry leaders who are responsible for setting the national agenda in highly specialized stroke care.
Leading Via Christi's accreditation effort were Dr. Kanaan, a board-certified neurologist; James Walker, MD, the board-certified neurocritical and critical care specialist and anesthesiologist who serves as medical director for St. Francis’ 20-bed dedicated neurocritical ICU; and Kumar Reddy, MD, the board-certified interventional radiologist who serves as medical director for neurovascular and interventional radiology. They did so in partnership with Via Christi nursing and administrative leaders.
“It takes a team and an integrated system of care that incorporates prevention and outreach education, research and rehabilitation services,” said Kanaan. “This accreditation indicates that we have that system of care, along with the extensive experience and resources needed to treat even the most acute stroke cases seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”
Achieving CSC certification is a significant step for Via Christi and the patients and families from throughout Kansas and the surrounding states it serves — one that’s part of a 10-year journey toward becoming a center of excellence for stroke care. That journey began in 2005 when Via Christi became the area’s first center to earn and maintain designation as a Primary Stroke Center.
For the patients and their families who come to Via Christi, the designation is an assurance that they are receiving treatment at a center that has all of the resources needed to provide the highest level of care.
But they aren't the only ones who benefit from a Comprehensive Stroke Center, as Via Christi has long partnered with healthcare professionals statewide to see that they have the stroke education and support they need to develop or enhance their stroke programs and community preparedness.
“Whether patients are seen in one of our ERs or access our stroke services through consultation with providers at their community hospital, they benefit from having access to a Comprehensive Stroke Center,” said Kanaan.
During its decade as a primary stroke center, Via Christi assembled the well-trained, specialized multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals needed for adult stroke patients — from front-line treatment staff and board-certified neurologists to professionals needed in ongoing after-stroke care, such as physical and occupational therapists and case managers.
Via Christi's Stroke Center team also has honed its ability to deliver timely and successful drug and surgical treatments for both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke patients, opened the region’s only dedicated neurocritical care unit, and acquired advanced imaging technologies.
“It is well known that patient outcomes are largely dependent on how soon this medication is given,” said Kanaan.