South Texas Health System's Freestanding Emergency Departments Earn Acute Stroke Ready Hospital Designation by The Joint Commission

Tuesday, October 18, 2022
South Texas Health System's Freestanding Emergency Departments Earn Acute Stroke Ready Hospital Designation by The Joint Commission

It’s an alarming fact: On average, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making stroke the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the nation.

For that reason, stroke care specialists have a simple saying: time is brain. When someone suffers a stroke, every minute counts. Ensuring a stroke patient receives rapid treatment isn’t only a matter of life and death, it can also mean the difference between long-lasting disability and significant recovery. The sooner a patient is evaluated and treated by a stroke team, the greater the odds of decreasing or reversing the effects of a stroke.

Rio Grande Valley residents can now count on the South Texas Health System Neurosciences & Stroke Institute to provide immediate care no matter which facility they are closest to at the time of their stroke. Recently, four of South Texas Health System’s freestanding emergency departments – STHS ER Alamo, STHS ER McColl, STHS ER Monte Cristo and STHS ER Ware Road – each earned an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital certification from The Joint Commission. Previously, STHS ER Mission and STHS ER Weslaco had received the designation.

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“In the event of a stroke, it is important to get to a comprehensive stroke center like the one at South Texas Health System McAllen, which can treat patients with strokes of all types and severity. But if you cannot get to STHS McAllen in a timely manner, this important designation means that our freestanding emergency departments can provide immediate and time-critical care to the stroke patient,” says Brenda Ivory, Chief Executive Officer, STHS Heart, who oversees the system’s six freestanding ERs. “Each of our full-service freestanding emergency rooms can provide the optimum level of care to a stroke patient, including initial evaluation and screening, stroke scale assessment, and if necessary, thrombolytic treatment, before transferring them to our comprehensive stroke center at STHS McAllen for further treatment.”

To assist in the evaluation and decision-making process, the emergency teams at all STHS freestanding ERs will have 24-hour access to the expert neurologic resources internally, as well as via the comprehensive stroke center at STHS McAllen.

“The most important thing is to get the patient to the nearest stroke ready facility that can provide acute stroke care as quickly as possible, with efficient and safe administration of thrombolytic treatment, if necessary,” says Ivory. “No matter where they come to receive that initial medical attention through the South Texas Health System Neurosciences & Stroke Institute, they can rest assured knowing they’re in excellent hands.”

In addition to having immediate access to stroke treatment at the six STHS’ freestanding ERs and STHS McAllen, which has a Comprehensive Stroke Center designation from DNV and Comprehensive (Level I) Stroke Facility designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services at STHS McAllen, STHS Edinburg and STHS Heart are designated as Primary (Level II) Stroke Facilities by the state, and each has been certified as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission.

Additionally, STHS McAllen and STHS Edinburg have both earned the Gold Seal Certification for Stroke and Cardiac Rehabilitation from The Joint Commission.