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Joint Commission Certifies 1,000th Primary Stroke Center

The Joint Commission and The American Heart/American Stroke Association announced this week that Trinity Health in Minot, ND, is the 1,000th Certified Primary Stroke Center in the U.S.

The 251-bed acute care, full-service hospital underwent a rigorous on-site review in November, 2012. A Joint Commission reviewer with expertise in stroke care evaluated Trinity Health for compliance with standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement activities.

Developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and launched in 2003, The Joint Commission's Primary Stroke Center Certification program is based on the Brain Attack Coalition's "Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers."

Certification is available only to stroke programs in Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals.

"Trinity's Stroke Program will have an important impact on the quality of care for patients throughout their community," says Jean Range, MS, RN, CPHQ, executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, the Joint Commission.  "Today they join the ranks of Primary Stroke Centers throughout the U.S. with a strong commitment to saving patients from death or life-long disability by meeting the highest standards for acute stroke care." 

Stroke programs applying for advanced certification must meet the requirements for Joint Commission Disease-Specific Care Certification plus additional, clinically specific requirements and expectations. Primary Stroke Center Certification requirements include:

  • Results of initial lab tests and diagnostic brain imaging within 45 minutes of order
  • Capability to administer IV thrombolytic therapy within three hours of symptom onset
  • A designated stroke unit
  • A Primary Stroke Center medical director
  • At least one public educational activity on stroke per year

Currently, 15 states require or recognize the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Primary Stroke Center Certification for designation as a Primary Stroke Center. These include Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington. 

For information about Primary Stroke Center Certification, contact Range at 630-792-5291 or email

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