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August 24, 2010 > Washington Hospital Stroke Program Reaches Pinnacle of Recognition from the American Heart Association

Washington Hospital Stroke Program Reaches Pinnacle of Recognition from the American Heart Association

In just a few short years since its inception, Washington Hospital's Stroke Program has earned top honors -- The Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award - which is part of the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA)'s Get With The GuidelinesSM (GWTG) program, a national evidence-based initiative to improve stroke patients' outcomes.

"This recognition is another validation illustrating that our Stroke Program at Washington Hospital is achieving the highest standard of care," says Ash Jain, MD, the program's medical director. "By meeting these measures, it means our program is doing the right thing consistently over a period of time, which is our standard of practice. We presume that by following national evidence-based standards the quality of care and quality of life is going to be better for our patients."

According to the AHA and ASA, hospitals receiving Get With The Guidelines SM Gold (Sustained) Performance Achievement Award have reached an aggressive goal of treating stroke patients with 85 percent or higher compliance to core standard levels of care for 24 consecutive months.

"As a stroke program, if you are meeting these proven standards that have been documented as effective in the medical literature, then you are providing better care to your patients," Dr. Jain says.

"This honor that physicians and Hospital staff have worked so hard to achieve, is one example of the type of high-quality care that can be found throughout Washington Hospital Healthcare System," said Bernard Stewart, DDS, president of Washington Township Health Care District's Board of Directors. "District residents should be comforted to know that as a Stroke Receiving Center for Alameda County, the care that is provided at Washington Hospital is highly specialized and can be provided rapidly, which is what is needed for those stricken with a stroke to have the best chance for a recovery."

Washington Hospital Stroke Program Coordinator Doug Van Houten, R.N., says the Stroke Program's commitment to strive for improvement is far from over.

"You can never say, 'We're there, we've done it, and just sit back when it comes to stroke care," he says. "There is a whole set of guidelines for what to do if someone is having a stroke, and our program consists of an entire package, from how to prevent it to managing life after stroke. We provide educational programs for the community. Our emergency room staff is trained to prioritize strokes and treat according to national guidelines. We also have special stroke units with clinicians specially trained in stroke who follow the important issues specific to stroke treatment."

Van Houten points out that when he submitted Washington Hospital's application for the GWTG program, he needed to provide proof that Washington's program was achieving the guidelines.

"The program is required to submit data through an online data-management tool," he says. "From there, the ASA can see our data, and we can compare our program with stroke programs throughout the country."

In addition to submitting the data to the AHA/ASA, the data collected on stroke care at Washington Hospital also is used to continually evaluate and improve treatment.

"If you perform these 10 basic core measures set forth by the American Stroke Association, then you are providing patients with excellent care," Dr. Jain says. "But we don't stop with just the basic requirements. We want to go further and cover everything related to stroke. Managing diabetes is not one of the measures included, nor is hypertension, but we are very thorough in identifying and treating these risk factors."

Stroke Care You Can Count On

To learn more about Washington Hospital's Stroke Program, visit To learn more about the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With the Guidelines SM program, visit

Solid Gold

The Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award demonstrates Washington Hospital's ongoing commitment to providing exceptional treatment for stroke patients. According to the AHA and ASA, hospitals that achieve a gold rating have treated stroke patients with 85 percent or higher compliance to core standard levels of care for 24 consecutive months.

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