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Joint Commission Names Swedish Medical Center Colorado's First Comprehensive Stroke Center

February 19, 2013

Swedish Medical Center Named Comprehensive Stroke Center by Joint Commission

Denver-area Hospital is First Credentialed Facility
in Both State and Rocky Mountain Region

(Denver, CO) Swedish Medical Center has been named the first Comprehensive Stroke Center in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region by the Joint Commission, the prestigious national medical accreditation organization. This new level of certification recognizes the advanced technology, staff and training that comprehensive stroke centers must have to provide state-of-the-art complex stroke care.

“Colorado takes great pride in recognizing Swedish Hospital’s status as a Comprehensive Stroke Center,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “Efforts like these go a long way to giving Coloradans the best possible medical treatment and to making our state the healthiest in the country.”

The certification underscores the hospital's long-standing commitment to health and wellness for citizens across the state, and throughout the region.

"Our new designation acknowledges the exemplary care we have provided to patients in Colorado and the region for years," said Chris Fanale, M.D., Stroke Medical Director at Swedish Medical Center. "This is a true example of collaboration and innovation. We have the most outstanding team and technology this region has to offer."

The 14th hospital in the country to achieve this certification, Swedish Medical Center was awarded this high-performance credential by the Joint Commission for its advanced integrative stroke team and outstanding patient outcomes. Simply stated, Swedish treats more strokes faster than anyone in the region.

"Our quality metrics at Swedish Medical Center have exceeded national benchmarks and consistently outperformed other area stroke programs," said Mary M. White, President and CEO of Swedish Medical Center.

By the numbers, Swedish offers some very impressive statistics: Incoming stroke patients have a neurologist at their bedside in an average 4.8 minutes, compared to the national target of 20 minutes.
Patients receive vital CT imaging within 14.6 minutes on average compared to the national goal of 25 minutes, and medically appropriate patients will receive IV t-PA within 40.8 minutes against the national goal of 60 minutes. The national average of ischemic stroke patients treated with IV t-PA is 5%, while Swedish treats 26%.

"Swedish was a pioneer in developing and providing comprehensive care through our stroke telemedicine program," White added. "This innovation in healthcare has allowed us to provide exceptional care for the stroke patients in our community as well as throughout the 31 stroke telemedicine partner hospitals across the Rocky Mountain Region. Our certification is a result of the dedication and hard work of many who collaborate to offer this award-winning care."

The Joint Commission recently developed the criteria for designating Disease-Specific Care Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers in collaboration with the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. The requirements are rigorous, officials say, and require additional technology, resources and expertise in comparison to other Primary Stroke Centers. This ranks Swedish Medical Center among the most well-known academic institutions across the country, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA; Stanford Hospital, Stanford, CA; Ronald Reagan UCLA, Los Angeles, CA; Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill, NC.

"The Swedish neurosciences community is proud to have achieved designation as the first
Comprehensive Stroke Center in Colorado," said J. Paul Elliott, M.D., Neurosurgeon at Swedish Medical Center. "It reflects the long-standing commitment of Swedish nurses, physicians and administration to the provision of extraordinary care for our patients with complex neurological illness."

The Comprehensive Stroke Center certification specifically looks at advanced endovascular procedures and technologies, the presence of a dedicated neuro-critical care unit and highly skilled staff, as well as proven patient outcomes that surpass national standards.

Comprehensive certification also requires that hospitals have the latest high-tech surgical equipment for complex aneurysm clipping and endovascular coiling techniques to find and remove clots. In fact, hospitals receiving the certification must perform at least 15 endovascular coiling or surgical clipping procedures per year. Centers must also hold dedicated neuro-intensive care unit beds and maintain specific procedures for communicating with paramedic EMS teams. They must be capable of evaluating two or more stroke patients simultaneously and perform specific follow-up tasks after discharge. They also have a requirement to enroll patients in clinical trial stroke research, use a stroke registry, and have certain peer review processes. Swedish Medical Center enjoys a long standing partnership with the Colorado Neurological Institute to provide community education, patient navigation and research.

In addition to achieving the certification, Swedish Medical Center received the following accolades from the Joint Commission surveyors:

  • Commitment to regional telemedicine site partners was a notable 'best practice'
  • Dedicated leadership of the Stroke Program
  • Solid clinical foundations for care
  • Program integration with AirLife, specialty trained air transport team for stroke patients
  • The stroke peer review process at Swedish Medical Center was the 'best they have ever seen'
  • Stroke data collection methods were noted as a ‘best practice’

"This certification is a message to the community and surrounding region, patients and EMS providers that we are the place to go for acute stroke services," said Don Frei, M.D., Interventional Neuro-Radiologist at Swedish Medical Center.

About Swedish Medical Center
Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado serves as the Rocky Mountain Region’s referral center for neurotrauma and as the region’s only Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, a recognized leader in the most advanced stroke care. Swedish offers patients the highest quality care and the most advanced technologies and treatments in nearly every medical specialty and is an eight time winner of the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award and a Top 100 Hospital recognized by Reuters. An acute care hospital with 368 licensed beds, Swedish is located in the south metro Denver area where it has been a proud member of the community for more than 100 years. Annually, Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of 2,000 dedicated employees, 500 volunteers and more than 1,300 physicians.

About The Joint Commission
An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.