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Joint Commission renews UCI Health comprehensive stroke center certification

Designation reflects highest level of stroke care available 

February 14, 2018

The UCI Health Comprehensive Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers. This is the third time UCI Health has earned the designation since the two-year Comprehensive Stroke Centers program was established in 2012.

“UCI Health is pleased to receive advanced certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association,” said Wengui Yu, MD, PhD, director of the UCI Health Comprehensive Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center. “Our mission is simple, to provide the best care for stroke patients, 24/7, 365 days a year.”

The coordinated approach of UCI’s team of neurologists, vascular surgeons, neurosurgeons, neuro-intensivists, radiologists, nurses, pharmacists and therapists allows us to offer patients the highest level of treatment available, he said.

UCI Health remains in an elite group of health care organizations focused on highly-specialized stroke care. To be eligible, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center and meet additional requirements, including those related to advanced imaging capabilities, round-the-clock availability of specialized treatments, and providing staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.  

Last year, UCI’s stroke and cerebrovascular team treated more than 600 strokes patients, including more than 410 ischemic strokes and transient ischemic attacks, approximately 160 intracerebral hemorrhages and nearly 60 subarachnoid hemorrhages. 

In addition to comprehensive acute stroke care, UC Irvine Medical Center features a dedicated neurosciences intensive care unit staffed by fellowship-trained neurocritical care physicians and nurses who hold advanced practice certifications in critical care, neurosciences and stroke care.

“Providing patients continuous, world class care once they are admitted to the hospital is a key to ensuring the best possible outcomes and improving the quality of life for stroke survivors,” said Janice White, RN, nurse manager of the neuroscience ICU.

The UCI Health stroke center underwent a rigorous onsite review in November 2017 when Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements.

"By achieving this advanced certification, UCI Health has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president and CEO, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends UCI Health for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

“The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association congratulates  UCI Health on achieving Comprehensive Stroke Center certification,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “Meeting the standards for Comprehensive Stroke Center certification represents a commitment to deliver high quality care to all patients affected by stroke.” 

Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification was developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and derived from the Brain Attack Coalition’s “Recommendations for Comprehensive Stroke Centers (Stroke, 2005), "Metrics for Measuring Quality of Care in Comprehensive Stroke Centers" (Stroke, 2011) and recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care. 

UCI Health has long been a leader in stroke care. UCI Health was among the nation’s first recipients of The Joint Commission’s Primary Stoke Center designation and it received Orange County’s first certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center in 2013. UCI was instrumental in creating the Orange County Stroke-Neurology Receiving System in 2009. 

Other recent achievements include receiving the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association top two quality awards

  • The Stroke Gold Plus Quality Award is an advanced level of recognition for hospitals that are consistently compliant with quality achievement measures for two or more consecutive years. The rigorous standards call for state-of-the-art, complex stroke care, and a commitment to stroke research and patient education. 
  • The Stroke Honor Roll Elite-Plus Award is the highest level of recognition for hospitals with a commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to research-based guidelines and the latest scientific evidence. UCI Health achieved four consecutive quarters of 75% or higher compliance in delivering acute therapy with the clot-busting drug, tPA. For patients, this means prompt, appropriate stroke treatment that saves lives and reduces the likelihood of recurrence.

Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. 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.

The Joint Commission – Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 417-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 17 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu