In Connecticut, stroke has been one of the top 5 leading causes of death and the leading cause of disability. An abundance of medical literature demonstrates that stroke patients receive better care, have better outcomes, and have less treatment related complications at centers equipped to treat stroke within the context of a system of care. A stroke designation system improves the care delivered to all persons with stroke, and is inclusive for all hospitals.
Stroke certified hospitals are required to comply with a number of standards related to access and availability of appropriate leadership and stroke expertise, written treatment and transfer guidelines and the ability to provide necessary diagnostic testing and interpretation. Stroke certification is essential because it assures the public and the EMS community that a hospital has the procedures and guidelines in place to ensure persons experiencing stroke systems will be rapidly accessed and given the most definitive treatment, or triage, as rapidly as possible.
The state legislature appointed a stroke task force, and one of its recommendations in its February, 2016 final report was to re-establish and maintain a state-wide, hospital stroke designation program. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association plans to introduce legislation in the upcoming 2017 state legislative session that will accomplish this. Although the session does not begin until January, we are already at work forming a coalition of like-minded organizations and beginning to educate both advocates such as yourself and legislators. As this issue continues to develop we will keep you updated.