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October 21, 2011, USAMC Stroke Program Receives "Gold Plus" Award - Archived

The University of South Alabama Medical Center has received the “Gold Plus” Performance Quality Achievement Award for stroke care from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, the first hospital in Mobile to be chosen.

USA Medical Center also received a Silver Performance Quality Achievement Award for Heart Failure treatment. The recognition is part of the “Get With The Guidelines” nationwide program that recognizes health care excellence as determined by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. USA Medical Center’s stroke program has been recognized for three consecutive years.

The USA Regional Stroke Center annually treats more than 100 patients, most from Alabama and Mississippi. To receive the Gold Plus award for stroke care, USA Medical Center achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke quality achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals, and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with 6 of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke quality measures, which are 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 while improving the lives of stroke patients.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost,” Dr. Steve Cordina, medical director for the USA Regional Stroke Center, said. “This award demonstrates USA Medical Center’s commitment to being one of the top hospitals for aggressive, proven stroke care. We will continue with our focus on providing care shown in the scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols.”

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 take-away 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.

“The time is right for USA Medical Center to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing Get With The Guidelines-Stroke,” Cordina said. “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.” According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the nation’s leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability.

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. To receive the Silver award for heart failure treatment, USA Medical Center reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients with 85 percent compliance for one year to core standard levels of care as outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for heart failure patients. The guidelines include aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants in the hospital. They also receive alcohol/drug use and thyroid management counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before being discharged.

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure. Each year, 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 277,000 people will die of heart failure. For more information about stroke care at USA Medical Center, please visit and for more information about heart care at USA Medical Center, visit

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