News and Information

February 19, 2014

St. Joseph Medical Center Recertified as Primary Stroke Center

Hospital recognized for fostering better outcomes in stroke care

(TACOMA) St. Joseph Medical Center, part of the Franciscan Health System, became the first hospital in Pierce County to be designated as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, a national accrediting organization, in 2009. This January, St. Joseph was reviewed by The Joint Commission and their certification as a Primary Stroke Center, accompanied by the Commission’s Certificate of Distinction which was renewed for the next two years. This esteemed award comes with the right to bear the Commission’s Gold Seal ® for stroke care.

The Franciscan stroke team was commended for using best practices throughout St. Joseph and Franciscan’s community hospitals for door-to-tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) administration times. The national standard set by The Joint Commission for administration time is 60 minutes; St. Joseph’s median time is 51 minutes. According to the American Stroke Association, the earlier patients who qualify for the ‘clot dissolving drug’ (t-PA) are treated; the better their chances are for a favorable outcome.

St. Joseph Medical Center has two Neuro Critical Care Units and two Post-Critical Care units which use the most advanced technology to treat stroke and aneurysms.

“Our staff in these units is specialized in stroke recovery and other brain, spinal cord and nervous system disorders, “said neurointerventional radiologist Dennis Wang, MD, stroke program medical director. “Studies have shown that by placing the right patient at the right level of care, these specialized units help reduce complications as well as assist patients to heal more efficiently.”

People experiencing or seeing stroke symptoms in another person should call 9-1-1 immediately. Symptoms of stroke include: facial droop, weakness in the arms or legs, problems speaking or a sudden severe headache. Learn more about Franciscan's Neurosciences.

Franciscan Health System includes St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma; St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way; St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood; St. Elizabeth Hospital, Enumclaw; St. Anthony Hospital, Gig Harbor; Highline Medical Center, Burien; Harrison Medical Center and Harrison HealthPartners, Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas; Franciscan Hospice House, University Place; Franciscan Medical Group clinics and providers, Pierce, King and Kitsap counties; and the Franciscan Foundation. Franciscan is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a nonprofit, faith-based health system formed in 1996 through the consolidation of four Catholic health systems. One of the nation’s largest health systems, Englewood, Colo. –based CHI operates in 18 states and comprises 87 hospitals; 24 critical access facilities and other facilities that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care. In fiscal year 2013, CHI provided more than $762 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research.

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