Providence Stroke Center meets the highest standards in care

January 09, 2015

Stroke patients treated at Providence Stroke Center receive some of the best care in the nation. 

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center is part of an elite group of medical centers nationwide to receive Comprehensive Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission for meeting their highest level of standards for complex stroke care. Providence Portland, Providence St. Vincent and Providence Medford medical centers have received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines - Gold Plus award for improving stroke care. They are recognized for two or more consecutive years of performance excellence as part of the American Stroke Association's quality program. The three hospitals have also made their prestigious Target: Stroke Honor Roll. At least 50 percent of eligible ischemic stroke patients have received IV rt-PA within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle’ time) over the past year.

In addition, Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, Providence Newberg Medical Center received a Stroke Gold Achievement Get with The Guidelines Award and Hood River Memorial Hospital and Willamette Falls Medical Center are now honored as Get With The Guidelines participating hospitals.

Oregon has one of the highest stroke death rates in the country, making this recognition even more valuable to our community. "Receiving these awards at Providence hospitals is testimony to Providence Health & Services’ commitment to providing the best stroke care possible,” said Ted Lowenkopf, M.D., medical director for Providence Stroke Center. “Providence has assembled a team of highly qualified experts who work to save lives and improve patients’ outcomes during recovery.” 

The Providence stroke team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointerventionalists, radiologists, nurses who can quickly diagnose patients and use the most technically advanced methods to remove clots, repair broken arteries that cause strokes, and restore blood flow to the brain. 

Hospitals participating in these programs must develop a comprehensive system for providing rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke when patients are admitted to the emergency department. When treating a stroke, every minute counts. 

"We have only four and a half hours from onset of the first symptom to provide the only FDA-approved treatment for stroke. The clot-busting drug tPA is the only proven treatment we have to minimize the chance of suffering permanent brain damage and disability,” notes Lisa Yanase, M.D., medical director of the Providence Portland Stroke Center. 

As a GWTG participant, Providence medical experts must also use the “teachable moment” – the window of time immediately after a person has had a stroke, when they are most likely to follow their doctor’s guidance. Studies show patients who are taught to manage their risk factors while in the hospital reduce their risk of a second stroke. Providence medical centers provide information on secondary stroke prevention by managing smoking, weight, diabetes and cholesterol. 

Providence Stroke Center 

Providence Health & Services is seen as a regional and national leader in stroke management and treatment. Providence Stroke Center is the first nationally certified stroke center in Oregon and is actively engaged in clinical research. These results are already being used to improve stroke care in Oregon. 

Providence Stroke Center, based at Providence St. Vincent and Providence Portland medical centers, treats more than 1,000 patients a year. Both facilities have dedicated neuro bi-plane suites, which are the most advanced in the region. This minimally invasive technology provides physicians unparalleled three-dimensional-imaging of a patient’s brain's blood vessels to help remove blood clots or repair damage caused by strokes. In addition, Providence has a dedicated neurocritical care unit. 

The Joint Commission and the American Stroke Association measure eight standards of in-patient stroke care. These performance measures are used by Stroke Centers to evaluate the stroke care at their facility, and are used to obtain Primary or Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification from the Joint Commission.

Percent of Patients¹ Who Received All 8 Primary Stroke Center Measures of Inpatient Care*: July 2013 – June 2014

Certified Joint Commission 
Providence St. Vincent
Providence Portland
All OR Hospitals
Primary Stroke Centers
Comprehensive Stroke Centers

¹ Data are for all hospitals reporting to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With The Guidelines Program.

8 Stroke national hospital inpatient quality measures
  1. Patients with an ischemic stroke or a hemorrhagic stroke and who are non-ambulatory should start receiving DVT prophylaxis by end of hospital day two.
  2. Patients with an ischemic stroke prescribed antithrombotic therapy at discharge.
  3. Patients with an ischemic stroke with atrial fibrillation/flutter discharged on anticoagulation therapy.
  4. Acute ischemic stroke patients who arrive at the hospital within 120 minutes (2 hours) of time last known well and for whom IV t-PA was initiated at this hospital within 180 minutes (3 hours) of time last known well.
  5. Patients with ischemic stroke who receive antithrombotic therapy by the end of hospital day two.
  6. Ischemic stroke patients with LDL greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL, or LDL not measured, or who were on a lipid-lowering medication prior to hospital arrival are prescribed statin medication at hospital discharge.
  7. Ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke patients or their caregivers who were given educational materials during the hospital stay addressing all of the following: activation of emergency medical system, need for follow-up after discharge, medications prescribed at discharge, risk factors for stroke, and warning signs and symptoms of stroke.
  8. Ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke patients who were assessed for rehabilitation services.

Get With The Guidelines: The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize Providence Portland and Providence St. Vincent medical centers for achieving 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Performance Achievement indicators for consecutive 12 month intervals and 85 percent or higher compliance with 5 or more of 10 Get With The Guidelines Stroke Quality Measures to improve quality of patient care and outcomes in addition to achieving IV rt-PA door-to-needle times ≤ 60 minutes in 50 percent or more of applicable acute ischemic stroke patients (minimum of 6) during one calendar quarter.

Comprehensive Stroke Certification: The certification comes after Providence St. Vincent underwent a rigorous onsite review by The Joint Commission in April, 2014. Joint Commission experts reviewed Providence St. Vincent’s compliance with the Comprehensive Stroke Center standards and requirements, including advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, stroke research, and caregivers with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.