May 25, 2011
For immediate release
Contact: Gerry Ewing / 503-681-1654
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association announced today that Tuality Healthcare is the winner of the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award for establishing and implementing a higher standard of stroke care that reduces death and disability and improves the lives of stroke patients.
The award was presented to Tuality Healthcare executives and members of the non-profit’s stroke team at a ceremony Tuesday at the Tuality Health Education Center in Hillsboro. The award honors Tuality’s commitment to implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment that meets or exceeds nationally-accepted standards.
“Tuality Community Hospital has been providing excellent stroke care for years, and this prestigious award is a validation of this effort,” said Dr. Thomas Gilberts, MD, Tuality’s chief medical officer and stroke center task force chairman. “Tuality is now a Primary Stroke Center and all Tuality staff are to be congratulated for their hard work and dedication to this project. This multidisciplinary process has laid the foundation for us to further optimize the outstanding stroke care that we provide to the citizens of western Washington County.”
Tuality’s stroke team is made up of three neurology specialists – Dr. Daniel K. Friedman, MD, Tuality Stroke Center director, Dr. Barbara J. Hills, MD, and Dr. Wan-jui Chen, MD, as well as three neurosurgeons, Dr. Fred C. Williams, MD, Dr. Keyvan Abtin, MD, and Dr. Bradley J. Bergquist, MD.
Recognizing the teamwork aspect of stroke care is what was most pleasing to Friedman. “This award assures the citizens of western Washington County that they will receive excellent quality stroke care at Tuality,” he said. “It truly is a team effort.”
To receive the award, Tuality achieved at least 12 consecutive months of 85 percent or higher adherence to all stroke quality achievement indicators. In addition, the hospital achieved at least 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 quality measures.
Here is a snapshot of Tuality’s performance in five of the quality measures:
“These are really great numbers,” said Pam Michalowski, RN BSN, Tuality’s clinical improvement coordinator and a member of the stroke team. “It shows how a community hospital can provide excellent care.”
The Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award is the second honor for the stroke team this year. In March, the Joint Commission, a national organization that investigates and certifies hospitals, awarded Tuality the prestigious Certification of Distinction for Advanced Primary Stroke Center.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association. It is also a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. In stroke cases, Friedman said, the faster the diagnosis and treatment, the better the chance of limiting brain damage and potential long-term disability. Neurologists use the term Stroke: Time = Brain.
Recognizing the signs of stroke and calling 9-1-1 for immediate transport to a hospital are crucial aspects of stroke treatment. Friedman recommends that all citizens should be able to recognize the signs of a stroke by learning and using the acronym F.A.S.T. F stands for checking for facial droop or an uneven smile; A stands for checking for arm numbness or weakness; S stands for recognizing slurred speech or difficulty speaking as a stroke sign; and T stands for time to the hospital. If a citizen sees any of these signs, they should call 9-1-1 immediately.