Berkshire Medical Center Gets with the Guidelines, Again

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Medical Center has, for the seventh straight year, received the American Heart Assoc./American Stroke Assoc. Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award.

The award recognizes BMC’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines. BMC was the first hospital in the U.S. to receive the Performance Achievement Award for Stroke from the American Heart Assoc.

To receive the award, BMC achieved 85{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} or higher adherence to all Get with the Guidelines Stroke Performance Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} or higher compliance with six of 10 Get with the Guidelines Stroke Quality Measures, both reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs, and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“For the past several years, our comprehensive Stroke Team, which starts in the BMC Emergency Department and continues in the Stroke Unit and through Rehabilitation, has focused on continually improving the quality of stroke care through Get with the Guidelines. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population,” said Dr. Gray Ellrodt, chief quality officer for BMC and chairman of the Department of Medicine.

“With a stroke,” he added, “time lost is brain lost, and the Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award demonstrates BMC’s commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care.”

Dr. Lee Schwamm, chair of the Get with the Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of Tele-Stroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, noted that “Berkshire Medical Center is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients. The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

Get with the Guidelines Stroke uses the ’teachable moment,’ the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their health care professionals’ guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke.

Through Get with the Guidelines Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients’ individual risk profiles. The takeaway materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Get with the Guidelines Patient Management Tool gives health care providers access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

According to the American Heart Assoc. and American Stroke Assoc., stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every three minutes, and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. For more information on Get with the Guidelines, visit www.americanheart.org/getwiththeguidelines.

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