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June 22, 2015 - USA Medical Center Recognized For Stroke Care


Top row, left to right: Technical Director of Radiology Tessie Johnson; Director of Quality Management Sharon Ezelle; Nutrition Services Supervisor Tammy Zan.
Second row, left to right: Director of Therapy Services Anne Carter; Radiologic Technologist II Anto Pavic; Resident Dr. Andrew Manley.
Third row, left to right: RTN-Clinical Nurse Leader Shelly Winters; Nurse Manager Annita Dailey; Associate Administrator/ USA Health System CNO Lisa Mestas.
Fourth row, left to right: Speech Therapist Libby Allen; Clinical Level I RTN Sharron Howard-Taylor; Dietetic Technician Constance Hughes; Emergency Room Nurse Manager Ashley Lee.
Fifth row, left to right: Speech Therapist Karen McVay; Stroke Certification Coordinator Tiffany Griffin; Clinical Level III RTN Jennifer Zirlott; Pharmacist Megan Smith.


The University of South Alabama Medical Center recently received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s (AHA/ASA) Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite award while in Nashville for the International Stroke Conference.

“We are pleased to recognize USA Medical Center for their commitment to stroke care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get with the Guidelines steering committee and Executive Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce length of stay and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparities in care.” 

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award demonstrates our commitment to ensuring patients receive care based on nationally-respected clinical guidelines,” said USA Medical Center Administrator Beth Anderson.  “USA Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care and the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke helps us achieve that goal.” 

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. Through dedicated efforts of primary stroke centers strokes have fallen from the third cause of death to the fifth cause of death. Unfortunately, strokes remain the number one cause of disability in this country thus much work is left to be done to improve this. 

In an effort to reduce the disability and death, AHA/ASA formed the Get with the Guidelines-Stroke program to measure the quality of care provided these patients. USA Medical Center has consistently achieved 100 percent on the core and specific quality indicators and the patients are rapidly screened to determine eligibility for tPA (Activase) the clot-busting medication. tPA was initially used to treat heart attacks but multiple trials and evidence paved the way for the use in strokes. Every minute during an acute stroke, 1.9 million neurons are actively dying, therefore time is literally brain. The award also recognizes the stroke team’s ability and determination to administer tPA within forty-five minutes of arrival. The GWTG quality initiative program also tracks the facilities use of additional treatment endovascular treatment options to remove the clot and immediately restore blood flow.

Five global trials presented at the International Stroke Conference provided an overwhelming amount of evidence that removing the blood clot which causes the stroke from the brain will dramatically reduce the disability in acute stroke patients. Current treatment guidelines are actively being revised to pave the way for this new standard of care. This treatment option is available at USA Medical Center and has been performed at this facility since 2011 by Medical Director of the Stroke Program and Assistant Professor of Neurology Dr. Steve Cordina. 

About the University of South Alabama Medical Center 

The University of South Alabama Medical Center is a Joint Commission designated primary stroke center that offers advanced interventions for stroke care. In addition, USAMC offers patient-centered care to residents of the central Gulf Coast region with unique services including Mobile’s only Level I Trauma Center and Regional Burn Center. USAMC offers Centers of Excellence in cardiovascular diseases, and a wide range of acute care services. 

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About Get With The Guidelines

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 5 million patients since 2001.  For more information, visit or

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