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USA Health System
News Release
Mobile, Ala. (December 5, 2008)
Contact: Bob Lowry, (251) 471-7262

USA Medical Center the State's First Stroke Association Gold Achievement Winner

USA Medical Center
USA Medical Center is the first hospital in Alabama to receive the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Gold Performance Achievement Award.
The University of South Alabama Medical Center, Mobile’s first designated Primary Stroke Center, has been recognized by the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program with the Gold Performance Achievement Award, the first hospital in Alabama to be selected.
Get With The Guidelines, or GWTG, is a quality-improvement program that helps hospitals ensure that patients consistently receive stroke care in accordance with the most up-to-date scientific guidelines and recommendations. The Gold award recognizes hospitals that achieve performance scores of 85 percent or greater compliance with quality standards for 24 consecutive months.
USA Medical Center previously received the GWTG Silver level performance award for 12 consecutive months of sustained quality performance in the area of stroke care.
This latest award further recognizes USA Medical Center’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.
“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the GWTG-Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award recognizes the crucial element of time,” J. Ivan Lopez, M.D., medical director of the Regional Stroke Center at USA Medical Center and associate professor of neurology in the USA College of Medicine, said.
USA Medical Center has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain-imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.
“USA Medical Center is improving the quality of stroke care by implementing GWTG-Stroke guidelines,” Lopez said. “The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population.”
According to the American Stroke Association, each year approximately 700,000 people suffer a stroke; 500,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent. Of stroke survivors, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women die within a year, and for those aged 65 and older, the percentage is even higher.
USA Medical Center received the award by consistently complying for at least two years with the requirements in the GWTG-Stroke program. These include aggressive use of medications such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy for DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation.
GWTG-Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their health care professionals’ guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke.
Through GWTG-Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients’ individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the GWTG Patient Management Tool provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.
For additional information, please call the USA Stroke Center at 470-5801 or visit
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University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Date last changed: December 8, 2008 12:49 PM