Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla has been designated one of the first Comprehensive Stroke Centers in the United States by The Joint Commission as part of the new Disease-Specific Care Advanced Certification Program for Comprehensive Stroke Centers, which launched Sept. 1, 2012 in collaboration with the American Heart Association.
“This designation reflects our high level of commitment to treating stroke patients and providing the best possible outcomes,” said Thomas Chippendale, MD, medical director for the Scripps Health stroke program. “As the number one cause of disability and a leading cause of death in the United States, stroke is a significant public health concern. As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, we’ve demonstrated that stroke patients who are brought to Scripps La Jolla have access to advanced stroke care that’s designed to help them not only survive, but recover.”
The criteria for certification include participation in research, access to advanced imaging, and performing a minimum number of procedures, as well as treating a minimum number of conditions at the center annually. The goal of this new higher level of certification is to recognize the significant differences in resources, staff and training that are necessary for the treatment of complex stroke cases.
As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Scripps La Jolla is able to provide access to minimally invasive stroke care not available at many other hospitals, including the following interventions that in some cases can widen the treatment window:
- A procedure called a thrombectomy, which can physically remove a clot from the brain up to eight hours after onset of an ischemic stroke.
- Procedures that reopen or widen a blocked or narrowed artery, including carotid angioplasty and stenting, vertebral artery angioplasty and intracranial stenting.
- Embolization procedures that seal a ruptured blood vessel or prevent abnormal blood flow in patients who have suffered a hemorrhagic stroke or aneurysm rupture.
Patients are cared for by health care professionals with extensive stroke training, including neurologists; neurointerventional and vascular surgeons; advanced practice nurses; and neuro-rehabilitation specialists such as physical, occupational and speech therapists.
Additionally, all of the Scripps hospitals with emergency rooms are designated as Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission. The designation confirms that the hospital always has available a team of physicians who provides the most up-to-date and efficient stroke care, along with the tools and expertise to treat acute stroke quickly and competently to minimize or even reverse damage to the patient’s health.
“This achievement is not just significant for Scripps, it’s important for our community,” said Chris Van Gorder , Scripps president and CEO. “San Diego is already home to some of the best health care in the country, and this designation confirms that we can provide patients a level of stroke care not found in many places throughout the United States.”
The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Together The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association anticipate that, over time, municipalities and regions will develop a formal referral network so the most complicated stroke cases can be treated at the centers best equipped to provide the specialized care that can lead to the best possible outcomes for stroke patients. It is anticipated that there may be more than 200 certified comprehensive stroke centers in the United States over the next few years.