St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, says it is the first hospital in the United States to receive distinction as a Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center (TSC), a new certification program from The Joint Commission.
The certification program, which was developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), is in response to the need to identify hospitals throughout the county that meet rigorous standards for performing endovascular thrombectomy (EVT), a specialized surgical procedure used to remove a blood clot from the brain of an ischemic stroke patient.
“This certification is recognition that St. Joe’s is a regional and national leader when it comes to the early detection and treatment of large ischemic strokes,” said Shannon Striebich, president of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. “More and more, we are sending patients home with a good prognosis following a life-threatening stroke. The advancements we’ve made inside our stroke center are truly remarkable.”
St. Joe’s Stroke Center treats more than 700 patients each year. In 2004, it became the first certified Primary Stroke Center in Michigan and is the hub hospital of the Michigan Stroke Network, a collaborative network of hospitals that work together to deliver the most comprehensive stroke care in Michigan.
To be eligible for the certification, the hospital was required to meet strict guidelines that include performing EVT on a minimum of 15 patients in the past year, or 30 patients in the past two years, and the capability to perform EVT around the clock, seven days a week, along with monitoring and reporting quality, safety and outcome measures to the AHA/ASA.
As part of a March 2018 on-site evaluation, St. Joe’s primary neurointerventionists, the physicians who routinely perform emergency mechanical thrombectomy, were required to demonstrate they to meet the highest standards of subspecialty training.
According to the American Stroke Association, 795,000 Americans suffered a stroke last year across the country and more than 140,000 died as a result. Of those patients, roughly 87 percent suffered an ischemic stroke caused by a clot that cuts off blood flow to a part of the brain. These types of strokes are largely treatable if a patient gets to a hospital that can provide the right treatment in time.
“The Joint Commission congratulates St. Joseph Mercy Oakland on this significant achievement which makes them a preferred location for transporting patients with suspected ischemic stroke,” said David Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for Health Care Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission. “Multiple studies have proven EVT treatment to be effective in saving lives and lowering disability from stroke.”
The importance of having hospitals that can perform therapies related to acute ischemic stroke was underscored by Edward C. Jaunch, M.D., chair of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Hospital Accreditation Stroke Subcommittee.
“We commend St. Joseph Mercy Oakland on being the first to receive this designation,” said Jauch. “The new TSC certification is a critical piece of regional stroke systems of care, especially where Comprehensive Stroke Centers may be too far for patients with presumed large vessel occlusions to travel in a timely fashion. The TSC certification helps pre-hospital providers better understand hospital stroke capabilities and assist in regional EMS triage of stroke patients so that the patient gets to the right hospital for the right treatment.”
The Joint Commission launched the TSC program in January 2018.