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The Pipeline

Joint Commission announces new certification for comprehensive stroke centers

Collin Kent

Earlier this month, the Joint Commission—in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association—announced its new advanced certification for comprehensive stroke centers (CSCs). The announcement came nearly a year after the organization released its proposed guidelines for CSC certification.

The new certification builds upon the Joint Commission’s existing certification program for primary stroke centers (PSCs), which began in 2003 and has certified over 900 PSCs. While PSC certification is granted to hospitals that meet basic standards, clinical practice guidelines, and performance measures, CSC certification “recognizes the significant resources in staff and training that comprehensive stroke centers must have to treat complex stroke.”

Requirements for CSC certification

Advanced certification for comprehensive stroke centers is available only to Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals that meet all the requirements for PSC certification. CSCs will also be required to:

  • Have dedicated neuro-intensive care unit beds for complex stroke patients available 24/7
  • Use advanced imaging capabilities
  • Annually provide care to 20+ patients with diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH); perform 15+ endovascular coiling or surgical clipping procedures for aneurysms; administer IV-tPA to an average of 25+ eligible patients
  • Coordinate post-discharge care
  • Use a peer review process to evaluate care provided to stroke patients
  • Participate in stroke research

Goal is the creation of regional stroke networks

The Joint Commission envisions the creation of regional stroke networks with formal transfer protocols in place, sending the most complex cases to CSCs for specialized care. The organization anticipates that over 200 hospitals will receive advanced certification for comprehensive stroke centers in the next few years.

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