Community Healthcare System Hospitals Earn 2017 “Get with the Guidelines” Quality Achievement Awards

Community-Healthcare-System-Hospitals-Earn-2017-Get-with-the-Guidelines-Quality-Achievement-AwardsHospitals of Community Healthcare System have received 2017 Get With The Guidelines quality achievement awards from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The awards recognize the hospital staffs’ commitment and success in treating stroke patients with the most appropriate, timely care according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines.

St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center have received the Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award for achieving 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With the Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods. They also have achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With the Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

The quality measures of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“A stroke patient loses 1.9 million brain cells each minute stroke treatment is delayed,” said Leo Correa, CEO, St. Catherine Hospital. “This recognition demonstrates commitment by St. Catherine Hospital and Community Healthcare System’s network of hospitals to deliver advanced stroke treatment to our patients quickly and safely.”

“Every second counts when it comes to stroke,” said Janice Ryba, CEO, St. Mary Medical Center. “This award highlights our stroke team’s dedication to excellence in positive health outcomes and safety in patient care.”

“The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association applaud St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center for their commitment to stroke care,” said Paul Heidenrich, MD, MS, national chairman of Get With the Guidelines steering committee and professor of medicine at Stanford University. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With the Guidelines-Stroke program.”

St. Catherine Hospital also earned Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite distinction from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. To qualify, the hospital met quality measures to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and their treatment with a clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.

St. Catherine Hospital was one of three hospitals in the state to earn the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite award by successfully administering tPA to at least 50 percent of the eligible ischemic stroke patients within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital.

St. Mary Medical Center and St. Catherine Hospital also join Community Hospital in Munster, in meeting specific scientific guidelines as a Primary Stroke Center for having an evidence-based system in place to rapidly diagnose and treat stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. The Primary Stroke Center certification is in collaboration with the Joint Commission, as well as the American Heart/Stroke Association.

“Hospitals that follow AHA/ASA recommended guidelines understand the importance of treating quickly with tPA, and they also follow evidence-based research that pinpoint why a patient had a stroke in the first place, and report the findings,” Correa said. “That goes a long way to advance stroke care treatment for all.”

The Get With the Guidelines quality measures key in on appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including aggressive use of clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs, preventive action for deep vein thrombosis and smoke cessation counseling.

Get With the Guidelines has had an impact on more than 3 million patients since it rolled out in 2003, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death, and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. In Northwest Indiana, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death.

“We understand the need to strive for excellence to diagnose and treat stroke patients who come through our doors,” Ryba said. “Our goal is to deliver timely stroke care, so our patients obtain the best treatment quickly and efficiently to achieve the best possible outcomes in Community Healthcare System’s mission to deliver extraordinary care.”

To learn more about stroke care at hospitals of Community Healthcare System, visit