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Community Hospital, Munster Earns Comprehensive Stroke Center Status From the Joint Commission, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association


Community Hospital joins an elite group of hospitals in the state of Indiana by earning 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 certification program recognizes Joint Commission accredited hospitals for their demonstrated expertise in offering higher-quality standards in the treatment of patients who have suffered the most severe types of stroke.

Less than three percent of the more than 6,200 hospitals across the U.S. have achieved this highly sought-after certification. Two other Indiana facilities with this designation are located in Indianapolis.

“By achieving this advanced certification, Community Hospital has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” said Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Community Hospital for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

Community Hospital underwent a rigorous onsite review this past February. During the review, Joint Commission experts completed an independent evaluation of the hospital’s stroke-related healthcare services.

A Comprehensive Stroke Center as defined by The Brain Attack Coalition is a facility with the necessary personnel, technology, training and programs to diagnose and treat complex stroke patients requiring an elevated level of medical and surgical care, specialized tests or interventional therapies.

Some of the examples of procedures done at a Comprehensive Stroke Center include mechanical thrombectomy (removal of a DVT or vein clot) for acute stroke; thrombolysis for acute stroke; diagnostic brain and spinal imaging (angiography); advanced surgery for aneurysms; craniotomy and removal of hematomas or blood clots in the brain.

In addition, Community Hospital has demonstrated the ability to deliver advanced, high quality care for patients by providing:

  • 24/7 access to minimally invasive catheter procedures to treat stroke
  • a dedicated Neuroscience intensive care unit
  • onsite neurosurgical availability 24/7 with the ability to perform complex neuroendovascular procedures
  • treatment for large ischemic, hemorrhagic and other complex strokes

This higher level of care and management also allows Community Hospital to serve as the destination center for complex stroke patients including those arriving at Northern Indiana’s Primary Stroke Centers. Through stroke legislation recently passed in the State of Indiana, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) will use established rapid triage and transfer protocols to take patients to the closest hospital best equipped to treat the appropriate level of stroke symptoms. The legislation-a result of collaborative efforts among hospitals and EMS providers-improves intervention times and outcomes, ensuring patients have the best chance of recovery and minimizing permanent damage to brain tissue.

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.

Improving stroke care in Northwest Indiana is a priority, as spelled out by the findings in the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by local hospitals. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Lake County at 43 percent, higher than the state and national averages of 41.7 and 36.9 percent, respectively.

“Community Hospital staff understands the importance and continues to strive for excellence in the treatment and recovery of every stroke patient who comes through our doors,” said CEO Lou Molina. “Certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center further reinforces our team’s commitment and expertise in delivering stroke treatments promptly and safely, and shows that we are making a difference in the lives of the patients we serve.”

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.

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