The University of Toledo Medical Center continues to set the standard in health care in northwest Ohio.
UTMC recently received the Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The award recognizes a hospital’s commitment to and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients.
To qualify for the award, a hospital must adhere to all the specified standards at least 85 percent of the time for at least two consecutive years. The standards are those that have been proven to improve health after stroke, including treating with TPA (a clot-busting medicine) within three hours of stroke and rapidly starting medications, such as blood thinners and cholesterol lowering drugs, to prevent future strokes.
“During the first year, UTMC was one of just a few institutions that qualified for the award, and every year after that we have continued to make the grade,” said Dr. Gretchen Tietjen, professor and chair of neurology, and director of the Stroke Program and of the Headache Center. “UTMC is now one of only six hospitals in the country that have received the Performance Achievement Award for six consecutive years.”
Over the past 14 years, Tietjen and her colleagues have worked to establish and maintain the Stroke Center; they treat about 300 stroke patients each year.
“As a stroke neurologist, my goal is to have a program at UTMC that can take care of patients at the highest level,” she said. “The core stroke team physicians are in the Department of Neurology and include our resident physicians. The Stroke Center Steering Committee, however, involves representatives from the departments of Nursing, Emergency Medicine, and Emergency Medical Services, Radiology, Rehabilitation, and Neurosurgery. It takes a lot of people to assure quality and success.”
Having a strong Stroke Center will become even more important in the coming years. According to the American Heart Association, the number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow during the next decade due to increasing stroke incidences and a large aging population.