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Stanford Hospital & Clinics Awarded First Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL -- (Marketwire) -- 11/16/12 -- The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association together announced that The Stanford Stroke Center at Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto, California, is the first hospital in the country to meet The Joint Commission's standards for Disease-Specific Care Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification. Comprehensive Stroke Certification is the third Disease-Specific Care program on which The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association are collaborating. The other programs include Primary Stroke Center Certification and Advanced Certification in Heart Failure.

The new level of certification recognizes hospitals that have state-of-the-art equipment, infrastructure, staff and training to diagnose and treat patients with the most complex strokes. Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification was derived from the Brain Attack Coalition's "Recommendations for Comprehensive Stroke Centers," (Stroke, 2005), and "Metrics for Measuring Quality of Care in Comprehensive Stroke Centers," (Stroke, 2011), and on recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care.

A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated The Stanford Stroke Center on October 18 and 19, 2012, for compliance with the Comprehensive Stroke Center standards and requirements, including advanced imaging and treatment capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, participation in research, and staff and physicians with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients. The surveyors found the hospital met or exceeded all required standards.

"The Joint Commission commends Stanford Hospital & Clinics for seeking and achieving certification as part of its commitment to focusing on the care processes that produce the best outcomes for complex stroke patients," says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. "Stroke patients who are treated at Stanford can have added confidence that the hospital has put in place the critical elements necessary to meet their unique needs."

For Stanford Hospital, achieving Comprehensive Stroke Center certification is the culmination of a 20-year journey to develop an integrated neuroscience center -- one of the first of its kind in the United States. The hospital's Stroke Center includes specialists in the fields of neurology, neurosurgery, neuro-interventional radiology, nursing, rehabilitation, emergency medicine, social work, pharmacy and nutrition, all using a coordinated approach to caring for complex stroke patients. Recognized around the world as a leader in stroke treatment, prevention and research, Stanford Hospital & Clinics was among the first hospitals in the country to receive Primary Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The Stanford Stroke Center was founded in 1992 by Gregory W. Albers, M.D., the Coyote Foundation Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences; Michael P. Marks, M.D., Chief of Interventional Neuroradiology, Professor of Radiology; Gary K. Steinberg, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, Director of the Institute for Neuro-Innnovation and Translational Neurosciences and the Bernard and Ronni Lacroute-William Randolph Hearst Professor of Neurosurgery and the Neurosciences -- all of whom still direct the program today.

"We are very pleased to have earned The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's recognition. The leading-edge standards of care The Stanford Stroke Center team developed and refined over the last 20 years should be upheld as a national model," said Amir Dan Rubin, president and CEO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics. "Drs. Albers, Marks and Steinberg knew from the very start of the Center that the most effective way to battle complex stroke cases was to create a truly coordinated, multi-disciplinary team that united experts from every related field -- not just those dedicated to neurology, neurosurgery and neuroradiology, but also experts in nursing, rehabilitation, emergency medicine and pharmacy, amongst others. This approach has improved patient outcomes and pioneered significant advances in stroke diagnosis and treatment."

Each year, The Stanford Stroke Center cares for more than 2,000 patients annually in its ambulatory care clinic, emergency room, in-hospital stroke service, neurological critical care unit and operating rooms. It also acts as a regional resource, expediting care for patients from outside the area; the hospital maintains a Life Flight helicopter on stand-by for patients who require emergency transfer to its facilities.

The Stanford Stroke Center has pioneered major advances in medical therapies for treating and preventing stroke, innovative neurosurgical techniques for stroke prevention and ground-breaking interventional neuroradiologic procedures. It has developed a novel TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) program that has transformed the way TIA is diagnosed and managed. The hospital's Neurocritical Care Program has made key advances in the diagnosis of intracerebral hemorrhage and the prognosis of coma. Stanford neuroscientists have helped clarify the basic mechanisms of stroke-induced brain injury and have developed several new imaging techniques that allow them to successfully treat selected patients up to 12 hours after symptom onset. The hospital's unique hybrid interventional radiology/operating room allows for faster collaboration between specialists in neurosurgery and neuroradiology, streamlining the treatment process.

"The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association congratulates Stanford Hospital & Clinics and its health care providers, staff and administration as the recipients of the first Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification," commented Mark J. Alberts, M.D., FAHA, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association spokesperson and incoming Vice-Chair of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UTSW Medical Center. "Comprehensive Stroke Centers offer a high level of care for patients with the most severe and challenging types of strokes and cerebrovascular disease. We look forward to certifying other facilities of this caliber in the near future."

For more information about The Joint Commission's Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification program, please call 630.792.5291 or e-mail Jean Range at [email protected].

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 10,300 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,500 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission currently certifies more than 2,000 disease-specific care programs, focused on the care of patients with chronic illnesses such as stroke, joint replacement, stroke rehabilitation, heart failure and many others. The Joint Commission also provides health care staffing services certification for more than 750 staffing offices. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

About the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Hospital Certification Program:
The familiar Heart-Check mark now helps consumers evaluate their choices in hospital care. Each mark given to a hospital is earned by meeting specific standards for the care of patients with heart disease and/or stroke. The Heart-Check mark can only be displayed by hospitals that have achieved and defined requirements set by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. For more information on the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Hospital Accreditation Program visit

About the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association:
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke -- America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country.

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Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Eaken Zhani
Media Relations Manager
The Joint Commission
Email Contact

Alexandra Paterson
Communications Manager
American Heart Association/
American Stroke Association
Email Contact

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