AHA Gold Plus logo for 2019.

Easton's Primary Stroke Center Earns Renewed Honors from American Stroke Association

University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton's Primary Stroke Center recently was notified by the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA) that, for the third year in a row, it has received the Get With The Guidelines®- Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll. The award recognizes the hospital's achievement in providing the most effective stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

"We are proud to announce that our Stroke Center has received the Gold Plus and Target Stroke: Elite Honor Roll certification awards, commented Walid Kamsheh, MD, medical director, Primary Stroke Center. "This is a great achievement for any medical institution and shows that we are competitive among the larger, more well-known stroke care providers within Maryland and the United States."

According to the ASA, hospitals earning the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award have reached an aggressive goal of treating patients with 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Achievement Indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and have achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures.

"Our key players deserve recognition for these awards, including our Emergency Medical Service providers, the Emergency Department team, our Stroke Coordinator Nicole Leonard, and our entire Brain Attack Team, including the nurses on our neurology unit," Dr. Kamsheh said. "As we continue to provide this level of service and excellence within the Shore Regional Health medical community, we appreciate this recognition."

Stroke, a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain, takes the lives of more than 130,000 Americans each year and is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Residents of the five-county region served by University of Maryland Shore Regional Health who suffer a stroke have access to the designated Primary Stroke Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton.

A Primary Stroke Center designation is given by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) when standards are met to support better outcomes for stroke care. Certification standards include having a dedicated program, staffed 24/7 by specially trained medical professionals who provide fast diagnostic services and optimal stroke care.

Inclusion on the Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll is awarded to hospitals demonstrating success in meeting quality measures to reduce the time between the patient's arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), Alteplase, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If administered within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, Alteplase has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.

According to Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM Shore Regional Health, the Primary Stroke Center's continued recognition from the American Stroke Association demonstrates the Center's success with providing innovative stroke treatments to patients as quickly and safely as possible.

"Our team is providing state-of-the-art care that saves lives and helps reduce the risk of long-term disability in patients who experience a stroke," Kozel said.

The Stroke Center team at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton lives by the principle that time lost is brain lost, and because of that, clinicians feel it is imperative for patients to seek treatment for stroke at the first sign or symptom. To recognize signs and symptoms of stroke, it is recommended that people remember the word "FAST" – Facial drooping; Arm weakness; Speech difficulty; and if any of these symptoms are present, it's Time to call 9-1-1 as immediate medical attention is necessary.

Additional information about the Primary Stroke Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton can be found at UMShoreRegional.org/stroke.