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Cedars-Sinai Among First Hospitals in the United States to Earn Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

Los Angeles residents benefit from countywide emergency care network in which Medical Center is a nationally recognized, top-tier leader

Los Angeles - Dec. 7, 2012 – Cedars-Sinai is one of the first five medical centers in the nation and the first in Los Angeles County to achieve Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

This new designation – the highest possible – identifies hospitals that have the equipment, infrastructure, staff and training programs needed to diagnose and treat the most challenging stroke cases, both non-bleeding (ischemic) and bleeding (hemorrhagic). Recognized centers offer the latest imaging systems, state-of-the-art drug therapy and advanced interventional devices. They also lead their communities in research, teaching and community education.

Patrick D. Lyden, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology, director of the Stroke Program and the Carmen and Louis Warschaw Chair in Neurology, said Comprehensive Stroke Center status reconfirms Cedars-Sinai’s leadership role in a professional network benefitting residents throughout Los Angeles County.

In 2009, when the county launched its Emergency Stroke System, Emergency Medical Services Agency ambulances began transporting suspected stroke patients directly to Approved Stroke Centers rather than closest hospitals. But not all approved centers offer the highest level of services. Cedars-Sinai and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center have been identified as the top tier of stroke intervention facilities in the region, providing state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled specialists, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

“Each of us in this countywide network is committed to quickly getting patients to the facilities and programs they need, and we are continuing to develop ways to integrate stroke care so that patients are rapidly transported to the most appropriate facility, be it the closest Primary Stroke Center or one of the two centers providing comprehensive care,” Lyden said. “Becoming a Comprehensive Stroke Center is another major step in Cedars-Sinai’s progression as a national leader in stroke care. It is the result of years of hard work and diligence on the part of our stroke care team and the many other professionals throughout the hospital whose expertise touches the lives of these patients.”

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association plans to honor Cedars-Sinai and the other early recipients in an ad in Modern Healthcare magazine and its annual By the Numbers supplement, which provides industry performance data for health care executives.

“Caring for stroke patients – especially those with the most complex cases – takes an extraordinary level of teamwork and dedication that is displayed day in and day out at Cedars-Sinai,” Lyden said. “Achieving this certification reflects the investments Cedars-Sinai has made in the equipment, facilities and expertise that exist from the Emergency Department to the neurosurgical suites to our state-of-the-art Neuroscience Critical Care Unit and beyond.”

Cedars-Sinai’s Comprehensive Stroke Center certification took effect Nov.16, according to The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Its standards for this achievement are based on two Brain Attack Coalition articles in the journal Stroke, “Recommendations for Comprehensive Stroke Centers” and “Metrics for Measuring Quality of Care in Comprehensive Stroke Centers,” and recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of complex stroke care experts.

Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification is the third Disease-Specific Care Program on which The Joint Commission and the AHA/ASA are collaborating. The others are Advanced Certification in Heart Failure and Primary Stroke Center Certification. Cedars-Sinai’s Stroke Program earned Primary certification in 2008 and has consistently received the highest awards for quality care from the AHA/ASA.