UW Hospital Named One of Nation's First Certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers

Madison, Wisconsin – University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics joins an elite group as one of the first hospitals in the country to receive Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.


The groups began awarding their long-anticipated Comprehensive Stroke Center designation in October. UW Hospital, which also provides stroke consultations to several hospitals via The Wisconsin Telestroke Program, was the first in the Upper Midwest and in the first group in the nation to achieve the certification. The Joint Commission evaluated the hospital’s stroke diagnosis, treatment and care during a visit in September and announced its award in mid-November. UW Hospital already had achieved the Primary Stroke Center designation.


"We are so pleased to have this recognition of the high standard of care UW Hospital provides to its stroke patients," says Donna Katen-Bahensky, hospital president and CEO. "We were confident we could meet the highest standards for care for complex stroke cases, so we invited The Joint Commission inspection. It is indeed an honor to be among the first hospitals in the nation to be recognized for this standard of care."


UW Health Comprehensive Stroke Program: American Heart Association certificationBecause quick action saves brain cells in stroke, The Joint Commission reviewed and documented every step of a stroke patient’s care, from first radio contact with the ambulance crew through the emergency department, imaging, neurology, neurosurgery, hospital care, and rehabilitation. To meet the “comprehensive” standard, the hospital had to prove it was ready 24/7 to treat multiple complex stroke cases at the same time. Certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers must have advanced imaging and treatment capabilities, specialists on staff around the clock, specially trained staff and physicians, and faculty engaged in stroke research.


"I am very happy to see this recognition of our wonderful team effort," says Dr. Robert J. Dempsey, chairman of neurosurgery and a stroke researcher. "People at every level of UW Health – from administration to staff and from nurses to doctors – believe we can provide a brighter future and finer care for the patients and families affected by stroke. Stroke has always been a devastating disease; however, we at UW Health are dedicated to changing the future through prevention, acute treatment, rehabilitation and family support."


Dempsey praised stroke program coordinator Chris Whelley, a master's-prepared nurse, and neuroscience director Rebecca Wieczorek, for their work in preparing for The Joint Commission on-site review and follow-up. Dr. Justin Sattin, medical director of the stroke program, agreed, saying the award itself is recognition of UW Health's tremendous team effort in providing patients with the best care.


"Comprehensive stroke center certification recognizes the tremendous amount of interdisciplinary collaboration required to care for the most complex stroke patients in the Wisconsin region," says Sattin, a fellowship-trained stroke neurologist. "Our team has demonstrated an intense commitment to providing patient-centered, evidence-based care for this most vulnerable patient population."


Sattin adds that the Wisconsin Telestroke Program allows UW Health to share its Comprehensive Stroke Center expertise with hospitals throughout the region via telemedicine.


"This isn't only good news for us, but for people around the state where hospitals are part of our telestroke network," Sattin notes. "It allows us to advance the Wisconsin idea – that the knowledge of the university extends across the state – in the service of the region's stroke patients and their families."

Date Published: 12/05/2012

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