WVU Stroke Center at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital awarded state’s only Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Medicine today announced that the WVU Stroke Center at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval® and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.

“Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in West Virginia. It is our mission to provide the most advanced and timely stroke care to the residents of our state,” Muhammad “Mud” Alvi, M.D., medical director of the WVU Stroke Center, said. “Getting Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke Center certification is a great achievement and speaks to the dedication of countless people in multiple departments who work tirelessly to provide exceptional care to our stroke patients.”

With this certification, the WVU Stroke Center joins an elite group of healthcare organizations focused on highly-specialized stroke care. To be eligible, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center and meet additional requirements, including those related to advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and providing staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients. The WVU Stroke Center was first designated as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission in 2006. It is the first Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center in the state.  

The WVU Stroke Center underwent a rigorous onsite review, during which Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements.

“The certification highlights years of dedicated serviced across many specialties. While we have provided comprehensive stroke care for a long time, this recognition puts us in a small, select group of hospitals at the top of multidisciplinary stroke care,” Ansaar Rai, M.D., neurointerventional radiologist, said. “There is always room for improvement, and this does not represent the end of a journey but the beginning of a new phase in our commitment to advance neurologic care for the people of West Virginia.”

Established in 2012, Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. The certification was derived from the Brain Attack Coalition’s “Recommendations for Comprehensive Stroke Centers” (“Stroke,” 2005), “Metrics for Measuring Quality of Care in Comprehensive Stroke Centers” (“Stroke,” 2011), and recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care. It is the highest of three stroke designations certified by the Joint Commission. 

The WVU Stroke Center has also been consistently recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus quality-improvement program for its excellence in care and commitment to improvement. The award is given to hospitals that consistently meet Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators and quality measures. The Center has been a Gold Plus recipient for seven years.

Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus recognizes hospitals that reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA. A short “door-to-needle” time is imperative to preserve brain function after a stroke. In 2016, the WVU Stroke Center’s average door-to-needle time was 39 minutes – 13 minutes below the national average for participating hospitals. Nationally, participating hospitals treated 44.9 percent of patients in less than 45 minutes, while the Stroke Center beat 45 minutes for 77.6 percent of patients in 2016.

“The WVU Stroke Center and its team members’ dedication to being a national leader in high quality stroke care has been a point of pride for us for many years,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System, said. “We are incredibly proud of the Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, and I thank each and every person who made it possible.” 

Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.