TMH Awarded Comprehensive Stroke Certification

June 15, 2021

Today, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) was recognized with The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Comprehensive Stroke Certification. This is the highest-level of accreditation awarded and fewer than one percent of hospitals in the country have this prestigious designation through The Joint Commission.

As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, TMH offers rapid stroke patient assessment and the most advanced stroke treatment available from expert physicians who are specially trained in their fields. TMH boasts a variety of revolutionary treatments for patients suffering from stroke. These include clot busting intravenous medication called tPA as well as endovascular treatment, which removes blood clots and repairs aneurysms without opening the skull.

TMH earned the accreditation following a rigorous two-day site visit in March 2021. During the visit, a team of The Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with related stroke certification standards, including program management, clinical documentation and delivering and facilitating stroke care. The Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with healthcare experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewers conducted interviews with TMH’s stroke team, including endovascular neurosurgeons, advanced registered nurse practitioners, stroke-certified nurses, techs and more.

“Comprehensive Stroke Certification recognizes healthcare organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” said Mark Pelletier, MS, RN, Chief Operating Officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and Chief Nursing Executive at The Joint Commission. “We commend Tallahassee Memorial for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for stroke patients.”

“When someone is having a stroke, time is brain,” explained Matthew Lawson, MD, endovascular neurosurgeon and Stroke Medical Director at Tallahassee Memorial. “For stroke patients and their families, getting timely, efficient and accurate care can mean the difference between life and death. As the only Comprehensive Stroke Center in North Florida and South Georgia, we offer the highest level of care for stroke patients, right here in Tallahassee.”

TMH performed the first thrombectomy in the region in 2012, and the stroke program has grown rapidly ever since. Now, TMH treats nearly 1,400 stroke alert patients each year, and has a leading acute stroke service consisting of three endovascular neurosurgeons and nine advanced practice providers. 

“Caring for our stroke patients is a team effort. Literally hundreds of TMH colleagues participate in the care of these patients, including the emergency department, intensive care unit, medical floor, radiology, laboratory, nursing, therapy, respiratory, rehabilitation, vascular lab, recovery, as well as multiple other medical specialties, like neurology, radiology, critical care and cardiology,” explained Dr. Lawson. “This Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification signifies that this team truly delivers comprehensive care for our stroke patients.”

A stroke is a literal brain attack, meaning that areas of the brain do not receive enough blood flow and oxygen.  Typically, this is due to a blood vessel that is suddenly blocked or occluded, much like a heart attack, although other types of strokes can occur. Stroke is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. According to the American Heart/Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

“Excellent clinical stroke care is a vital medical service,” shared Mark O’Bryant, President & CEO of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. “At TMH, our mission is to transform care, advance health and improve lives. This Comprehensive Stroke Certification from The Joint Commission brings our mission to life. We are proud to offer the most advanced treatment options and provide patients and families immediate care in their own community.”

Learn more about the comprehensive stroke services at Tallahassee Memorial.