PIKEVILLE – After undergoing an on-site evaluation and demonstrating compliance with nationally-developed standards for stroke care, Pikeville Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for certification as a Primary Stroke Center.
It is the second time the hospital has earned the honor, and it comes just months after PMC also earned the “Get with the Guidelines” Gold Plus Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association — the highest award given for stroke care.
“I’m very proud, absolutely,” said Dr. Naveed Ahmed, PMC Chief of Staff and Medical Director of the Stroke Center. “It is an excellent team effort. Being the director of the stroke center, I am happy to see that we not only get the award, but we have received it for two consecutive years.”
He believes PMC was reaccredited for three reasons: the hospital’s team effort, consistency and “being able to deliver the best care at every level.”
“We always raise the bar of excellence,” he said. “It was a dream not only to start a stroke center, but also to be able to do as good as or even better than stroke centers in bigger cities. We’ve proven that in a small town like Pikeville, we are able to do that, and we do it thanks to the support of Mr. [Walter] May, the board members and the administration.”
PMC officially earned primary stroke center certification in 2009 from The Joint Commission, the organization responsible for evaluating and accrediting more than 19,000 health care organizations in the U.S.
The latest certification, announced April 5 by Registered Nurse Cheryl Hickman, Vice President/Assistant to the President CEO at PMC, recognizes the hospital for “exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.”
The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements and guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program — the nation’s first — in 2003.
The Joint Commission evaluates the data compiled by applicants and conducts an on-site evaluation prior to issuing Disease-Specific Care Certification, which lasts two years. The commission also routinely follows up with organizations that receive certification to ensure they comply with national standards.
“People in Pike and surrounding counties are very lucky to have PMC’s primary stroke center,” said Stephanie Turner, a Clinical Outcomes Specialist and Stroke Coordinator for PMC. “What makes PMC even more special is our stroke team, a group of dedicated employees who are here to take care of these patients 24-7.”
Turner said PMC has increased its efforts to educate the community about the importance of acting FAST during a stroke, as suggested by the American Stroke Association.
“Everybody seems to know the signs and symptoms of heart attack. When they have those symptoms, they go to the emergency department,” Turner said.
Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.
For more information about the stroke center, call 606-218-6311.