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Memorial takes the “Gold”- designated as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center
Home > About Us > Media Center > Press Releases > Memorial takes the “Gold”- designated as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center

Posted: 2010-03-23

The Joint Commission, formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, recently recognized Memorial Medical Center (MMC) with disease-specific accreditation as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center - a title recognized nationally as the Gold Seal of Approval™ in healthcare.

The honor was awarded following The Joint Commission’s on-site review of MMC’s stroke treatment protocols and abilities.

“I’m extremely proud of our physicians, nurses and staff who have worked very hard to ensure that our program not only meets, but exceeds, national standards,” says David Carlson, DO, Chief Medical Officer, Conemaugh Health System. “In the event of a stroke every second counts. The faster and more effectively a stroke patient is treated, the better their chances for a positive outcome; therefore, it’s encouraging to know that we have the resources at Memorial to provide them with the specialized care they need, when they need it.”

Memorial’s Stroke Program includes a team of neurologists, neurosurgeons and nurses trained in stroke care, along with two designated stroke units, Crichton inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services, a Stroke Specialty Clinic and a Stroke Support Group.

“People may not realize that every 45 seconds, someone has a stroke. It’s the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States,” says Jeremy Meisel, MD, Medical Director, Stroke Program, MMC. “Due to the large number of people stroke impacts each year, including patients and their family members, Memorial has made stroke care a top priority. For more than a year, we’ve worked diligently to make sure that our Stroke Program is second to none, and being named an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission is evidence that we’re doing our part to provide the best stroke care to our patients,” adds Dr. Meisel.

In 2008, Memorial implemented a “Stroke Alert,” much like a Trauma Alert, which notifies Stroke Program team members about an incoming stroke. A few months following the adoption of the alert, stroke response times were significantly improved. In one particular case, the entire work-up, including labs, CT and the neurology consult was completed in a total of 13 minutes, that’s compared to the national average of more than 35 minutes.

“The Stroke Alert system is one piece of the puzzle,” says Dr. Alfred Bowles, Chairman of the Department of Neurosciences and Divisional Chairman of Neurological Surgery, MMC. “Over the past year and a half, we’ve been able to dramatically cut the time it takes to bring all of the specialized staff together, necessary to treat these patients and help ensure the best possible outcomes. It’s wonderful to see what we’ve been able to accomplish with teamwork and, as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center, how we’re supporting Conemaugh Health System’s vision, ‘Excellence. Every Patient. Every Time.’”

Strokes, also know as brain attacks, occur when there is a blockage or hemorrhage of a blood vessel leading to the brain, causing inadequate oxygen supply. In addition to death, depriving the brain of oxygen can result in body weakness, paralysis and speech difficulties.

Symptoms of Stroke:

  1. Numbness, weakness or paralysis of face, arm or leg on one side of the body
  2. Difficulty speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes
  4. A sudden, severe, unexplainable headache
  5. Dizziness or loss of balance, especially along with one of the above symptoms

Risk Factors of Stroke:

  • Age: the risk of a stroke more than doubles each decade after 55
  • Gender: the incidence of a stroke is 30% higher for men than women, until menopause when the incidence is nearly equal
  • Race: African Americans are at 60% greater risk for stroke than Caucasians
  • Other risk factors include: hypertension, heart disease, smoking, diabetes, heavy alcohol use, high cholesterol, obesity and a family history of stroke

About Memorial Medical Center
Memorial Medical Center, the flagship hospital of the Conemaugh Health System, is a regional referral hospital known for clinical excellence. Memorial has been recognized with the HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence in 2007, 2008 and 2009. This ranks Memorial in the top 5% of all hospitals in the nation for overall clinical performance. In addition, Memorial Medical Center was the only Pennsylvania hospital to receive both the 2009/2010 Women’s Health and Maternity Care Excellence awards from HealthGrades. For more information, visit www.conemaugh.org.


For More Information, Please Contact:
Amy Bradley, Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (814) 534-3121
Email: abradle@conemaugh.org