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The Medical Center of Central Georgia Receives Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

The Medical Center of Central Georgia Receives Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award
Award Demonstrates Commitment To Quality Care For Stroke Patients

MACON, GA (Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011) – The Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG) was presented the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award on Monday. The award recognizes MCCG's commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

“This award demonstrates that MCCG is committed to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” said Tracey Blalock, RN BC, MSN, MBA, Assistant Vice President Medical Surgical Services. “Central Georgia Health System (CGHS) allows us to care for the patient throughout the entire continuum. This includes early recognition, rapid diagnosis, evidenced-based treatment modalities and, if necessary, rehabilitation. All of these elements are required for stroke patients to have the best-possible outcomes.”

MCCG received the award because it achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines  – Stroke Quality Measures. The latter are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. These measures include aggressive use of medications (such as antithrombotics), anticoagulation therapy, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs and smoking cessation. All are aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.       

In addition to the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke award, MCCG has been recognized as a recipient of the association's “Target: Stroke Honor Roll” for improving stroke care. Over the past quarter, at least 50 percent of the hospital's eligible ischemic stroke patients have received tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle' time). A thrombolytic, or clot-busting agent, tPA is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability.

“The Medical Center of Central Georgia is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., Chair of Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and Director of TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

Get With The Guidelines – Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when s/he is most likely to listen to and follow his or her health care professionals' guidance. Studies demonstrate patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke. Through Get With The Guidelines – Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients' individual risk profiles. The takeaway materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Get With The Guidelines Patient Management Tool gives health care providers access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

“The time is right for us to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing Get With The Guidelines – Stroke,” Blalock said. “Because incidents of stroke are higher in the southeastern United States, MCCG as a part of CGHS, is committed to continuing our efforts in advancing stroke care for the middle Georgia community.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.