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UPMC Altoona Receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award With Target: Stroke Honor Roll

Award demonstrates UPMC Altoona’s commitment to quality care for stroke patients

ALTOONA, PA, July 30, 2015 UPMC Altoona has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.
To receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, 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 the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, 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. UPMC Altoona 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.
These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.
“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that patients receive care based on nationally respected clinical guidelines,” said Janet Ashurst, nurse manager for UPMC Altoona’s Primary Stroke Center. “UPMC Altoona is dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke helps us achieve that goal.”
UPMC Altoona also has met specific scientific guidelines as a Primary Stroke Center since 2006, featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the Emergency Department.
“We are pleased to recognize UPMC Altoona for its commitment to stroke care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce length of stay and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparities in care.”
For providers, Get With The Guidelines-Stroke offers quality improvement measures, discharge protocols, standing orders and other measurement tools. Providing hospitals with resources and information that make it easier to follow treatment guidelines can help save lives and ultimately reduce overall health care costs by lowering readmission rates for stroke patients.
For patients, Get With The Guidelines-Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they learn how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital and recognize the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke, aka F.A.S.T.
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average:
• someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds
• someone dies of a stroke every 4 minutes
• 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year
Photo Caption:
UPMC Altoona has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll.
Representing the stroke program are (from left):
Front — Sandra Lazor, PA-C, UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates Neurology; Deborah Fornwalt-Beiswenger, administrative assistant, Neuroscience Stroke Department;
Back — Greg Madison, stroke manager; Janet Ashurst, stroke coordinator, Neuroscience Stroke Department; Stephanie Warmath, RN, Neuroscience Stroke Department, and Changsoo Hahm, M.D., UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates Neurology.

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