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St. John’s Receives Get With the Guidelines Stroke-Gold Plus and Heart Failure Silver Plus Quality Achievement Awards

Far Rockaway, New York, September 6, 2019 — St. John’s Episcopal Hospital announced today that it is the recipient of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award and the organization’s Heart Failure Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award. The awards signify the hospital’s surpassing of standards for stroke diagnosis and treatment, as well as heart failure management.

This marks the third consecutive year in which the hospital has attained the Stroke Gold Plus Achievement award, which recognizes hospitals who meet specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at set levels for a designated period of time. The Heart Failure Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring that heart failure patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. The hospital’s focus on heart failure is of particular importance, as heart disease is the leading cause of premature death in the Rockaways.

“We’ve managed to successfully integrate the Get With the Guidelines criteria and metrics for heart failure and stroke care into our clinical practice to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients,” said Delburt Joiner, Vice President and Chief Quality Officer. “Attaining theses prestigious awards is reflective of the tireless efforts and commitment of St. John’s team members.”

The measures for each award include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke and heart failure treatment based on the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines, with the goal of maximizing recovery and reducing death and disability for affected patients. In addition, patients receive education on managing their health and are scheduled for a follow-up visit before being discharged from the hospital. The standards of both awards are aimed at speeding recovery processes and reducing admissions and preventable mortality.

With regards to stroke care, maintaining these standards involves coordinating with Emergency Medical Services when a patient suspected of having a stroke is brought to the hospital, so that thrombolytics, also known as clot-busting drugs, can be administered within 60 minutes of a patient’s arrival in the emergency room when appropriate. Providing evidence-based medication, smoking cessation education, aphasia screenings, and completing the National Institute of Health’s Stroke Scale Assessment are also critical elements of stoke care. While the Stroke Gold Plus Achievement requires that thrombolytics be administered in a timely fashion in 75% of stroke cases, over the last 3 years, St. John’s has provided the time-sensitive treatment within 60 minutes of the patient’s arrival in 95-100% of cases.

In order to qualify for the Heart Failure Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, the hospital began reporting measures that had already been put into place. A Heart Failure Task Force created a policy and care pathway to ensure that heart failure patients received key assessments and treatments, which are documented by care providers in the patient’s medical record. Today, 90% of the hospital’s heart failure patients receive this care within their first day of admission. The protocol ensures that those at risk for blood clots receive the necessary anti-coagulants, vaccinations for pneumonia and other illnesses, smoking cessation counseling, and 60 minutes of heart failure education, in addition to advanced care classes if needed. The program provides consistency for the patient’s entire care team, including residents, attending physicians, and nurses. These measures lower the patient’s length of stay, which decreases their risk of infections and other complications

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, with almost 795,000 people suffering a new or recurrent stroke every year. More than 6.5 million adults in the United States are living with heart failure. Many heart failure patients can lead a full, enjoyable life when their condition is managed with proper medications or devices, and with healthy lifestyle changes.

“St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is dedicated to providing the utmost quality care to our patients,” said Jerry Walsh, Chief Executive Officer. “Implementing the American Stroke Association and American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines initiatives provides the tools and resources we need to track and measure our success in meeting the evidence-based clinical guidelines developed to optimize patient outcomes.”

About Episcopal Health Services

Episcopal Health Services Inc., (EHS) is a health system located on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York. The system provides emergency and ambulatory care to the densely populated, culturally and economically diverse, and medically underserved Rockaways and Five Towns populations. The system provides people of all faiths with comprehensive preventive, diagnostic treatment, and rehabilitative services, regardless of their ability to pay.