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St. Mary Medical Center receives Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award
Award demonstrates the Medical Center’s commitment to quality care for stroke patients

LANGHORNE, Pa., October 26, 2012 – St. Mary Medical Center is pleased to announce that it has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and also the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll distinction. This level of achievement demonstrates St. Mary’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients.

“At St. Mary, we have a promise to our patients to provide the highest standards of care in accordance with evidence-based guidelines,” says Dr. Joseph Conroy, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “These national awards demonstrate our consistency of care and our commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country.”

Get With the Guidelines (GWTG) is a comprehensive program that provides assessment and reporting tools, resources, workshops, and training for staff at participating hospitals. The program’s goal is to improve implementation of evidence-based standards of care for stroke patients that are proven to reduce complications and improve patient outcomes.

To receive the Gold Plus Award, St. Mary provided consistent adherence to all GWTG Stroke Performance Achievement indicators and Stroke Quality Measures for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals. Quality measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation – all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

Through GWTG – Stroke, St. Mary tracks comprehensive efforts to rapidly diagnose and treat stroke patients admitted to the Emergency Department. This includes being equipped to provide brain-imaging scans, having neurologists or neurosurgeons available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

The Target: Stroke Honor Roll is new quality recognition from AHA/ASA for improving stroke care. To receive this distinction, St. Mary had to provide the majority of its eligible ischemic stroke patients with tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital. tPA is a thrombolytic, or clot-busting agent, and the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability.

St. Mary is certified by Joint Commission as a primary stroke center and offers a full continuum of care for stroke patients. This includes 24/7 stroke emergency coverage by experienced neurologists and neurosurgeons, a state-of-the-art specially equipped neurosciences operating suite, a specialized Intensive Care Unit with monitored neurosciences care, discharge planning and home-care assessments, a Stroke Support Group and educational programs for stroke survivors.

In addition, St. Mary and Get With The Guidelines–Stroke strive to educate individuals on the warning signs of stroke and to help patients learn to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital to reduce the risk of a second stroke or heart attack.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.