May 14, 2014

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center Honored by American Heart Association with Quality Achievement Award for Stroke Care

St. Elizabeth’s efforts help reduce death and disability among stroke patients

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, a member of the Steward Health Care System and teaching affiliate of Tufts University School of Medicine, has received the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke acknowledges hospital teams who implement the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. St. E’s earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients for a designated period.  These measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

St. Elizabeth’s also received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for meeting stroke quality measures that reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the clot-buster medication tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. According to Judith Hinchey, MD, director of St. Elizabeth’s Stroke Service, “for patients whose condition qualifies them for this medication, receiving the drug within three hours or in some cases up to 4.5 hours of the onset of symptoms may increase their chances of having minimal to no deficit.”

“This award validates our hospital’s commitment to ensure that our patients receive care based on internationally-respected clinical guidelines,” said St. Elizabeth’s Vice President for Medical Affairs, Terry Garfinkle, MD.

“We are pleased to recognize St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center for its commitment and dedication to stroke care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and Executive Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce patients’ length of stays and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparity gaps in care.”

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke also helps St. Elizabeth’s staff implement prevention measures, which include educating stroke patients to manage their risk factors and to be aware of warning signs for stroke, and ensuring they take their medications properly.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States.  On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

About St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center is a major academic medical center affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine.  Areas of medical excellence include vascular and endovascular surgery, cardiology, neurosciences, general and robotic surgery, bariatric surgery, women’s health, high-risk obstetrics, bone and joint health, hematology/oncology, pulmonary medicine and emergency medicine.  St. Elizabeth’s is a member of Steward Health Care, which is the second largest health care system in New England.  Visit St. Elizabeth’s online at

About Get With The Guidelines
A Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) Achievement Award demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to quality and the ability to work as a team that is dedicated to providing your patients with care that is appropriate and based on the latest clinical guidelines. Specifically, the hospital has achieved and sustained 85% or higher adherence to specific evidence-based guidelines, over a 24-month consecutive time period as measured in the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program. In addition, your hospital attained Plus level by reaching at least 75% in added, optional quality measures. Target: Stroke Honor Roll designation is earned by achieving a door-to-needle (DTN) time of 60 minutes or less for 50% of tPA eligible patients.