TMC Recognized for High Quality Stroke Care

For the second year running, Tucson Medical Center has once again achieved national stroke recognition, demonstrating the hospital’s commitment to providing high quality care to stroke patients.

TMC was awarded the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, granted through the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, for both 2011 and 2012. The hospital achieved silver status in 2010.

Stroke is serious – one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability in the nation. On average, someone dies of a stroke in this country every four minutes.

To receive the award, TMC adhered at least 85 percent of the time to the Get With the Guidelines- Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for at least two or more consecutive 12-month intervals. To qualify, TMC also had to achieve 75 percent compliance with six of 10 Stroke Quality Measures, which include aggressive use of medications, such as anticoagulation therapy and cholesterol-reducing drugs, aimed at reducing death and disability.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost,” said Molly Griffis, TMC’s stroke program coordinator. “This award is not easy to obtain, but it does demonstrate our commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for improving the lives of stroke patients through proven treatment methodologies and protocols,” she said.

“We choose to follow these best practice guidelines to prevent complications of stroke, to prevent recurrent stroke, and ultimately to improve stroke outcomes in Southern Arizona.”

The Get With the Guidelines program for stroke uses the time soon after a patient’s stroke – when they are most likely to follow their doctors advice – to educate them about how best to manage their risk factors and reduce their chances of a second heart attack or stroke.

As the general population lives longer, the number of patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow in the next decade, making it all the more important to focus on providing quality stroke care now, Griffis said.

Lee H. Schwamm, a doctor and chairman of the Get With the Guidelines National Steering Committee, said TMC is to be commended to its commitment. “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

Tucson Medical Center also received great news this week from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program Primary Stroke Center. The hospital passed its recertification onsite survey with flying colors.

The surveyors determined that the TMC Stroke Program does not have a single deficiency.

“In order to maintain the Primary Stroke Center status, a hospital must have a strong multi-disciplinary team that is committed to providing top quality care to every patient, every time,” Griffis said. “It is no small task, but TMC is up to the challenge.”