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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Advanced Primary Stroke Center

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Advanced Primary Stroke Center

Advanced Primary Stroke Center

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Houston VA Achieves "Advanced Primary Stroke Center" Status

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. The MEDVAMC was awarded the distinction of being the first VA medical center with this designation after The Joint Commission conducted an on-site review in February.

Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, the nation’s third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

"We are proud to achieve this important distinction," says Adam C. Walmus, M.H.A., M.A., F.A.C.H.E., MEDVAMC Director. "Certification by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center recognizes our hospital’s commitment to providing outstanding stroke care, and the best care available anywhere, to our Nation’s heroes."

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements and guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program in 2003.

Programs applying for advanced certification must meet the requirements for Disease-Specific Care Certification plus additional, clinically-specific requirements and expectations.

Certified primary stroke centers:

  • Use a standardized method of delivering care based on the Brain Attack Coalition recommendations for establishment of primary stroke centers. 
  • Support a patient’s self-management activities. 
  • Tailor treatment and intervention to individual needs. 
  • Promote the flow of patient information across settings and providers, while protecting patient rights, security, and privacy. 
  • Analyze and use standardized performance measure data to continually improve treatment plans.
  • Demonstrate their application of and compliance with the clinical practice guidelines published by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association or equivalent evidence-based guidelines.

In 2005, the MEDVAMC established a Stroke Center to ensure Veterans received timely evaluation with diagnostic procedures and appropriate therapies based on guidelines established by the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association.

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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 120,000 veterans in southeast Texas. Veterans from around the country are referred to the MEDVAMC for specialized diagnostic care, radiation therapy, surgery, and medical treatment including cardiovascular surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, and treatment of spinal cord injury and diseases. The MEDVAMC is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; an award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; VA Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; VA Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; VA Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; and one of the VA’s six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, and Richmond, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged more than one million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2010. For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit www.houston.va.gov.