The Illinois Department of Public Health has named Taylorville Memorial Hospital an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital—one of an estimated 20 critical-access hospitals in the state to receive the designation.
The Illinois Stroke Law, passed in 2009 and updated in January, identifies hospitals capable of providing emergency stroke care and directs emergency medical services personnel to transport possible stroke patients to those hospitals.
“Stroke patients have a narrow window for treatment, so the sooner we can begin care, the better the potential outcome for them,” said Dan Raab, president and CEO of the nonprofit critical-access hospital, an affiliate of Memorial Health System. “Regardless of where they live, stroke patients in Christian County will have access to rapid care, thanks to this designation.”
Critical-access hospitals are rural hospitals certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare.
“This designation means our patients won’t lose time traveling a longer distance to receive care,” Raab said. “Now, care can begin from the moment patients enter our hospital until the time they receive a clot-busting drug within the recommended 60-minute treatment window.”
To be eligible for the stroke-ready hospital designation, Taylorville Memorial adjusted its emergency stroke care policies and procedures to align with nationally recognized, evidence-based standards, such as those from the American Heart/Stroke Association.
Each designated hospital has video-conferencing capability with stroke-trained neurologists. The Taylorville hospital launched a partnership with Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, another Memorial Health System affiliate, to offer video-conferencing technology for stroke care in 2012.
“This designation means more people in our community can have access to neurologists and receive the life-saving care they need close to home,” Raab said. “Should patients require a higher level of care, we can quickly identify them and transfer them to Memorial Medical Center for additional treatments, including minimally invasive neurointerventional procedures. Everyone else will be able to stay close to home.”
Memorial Medical Center is certified as a primary stroke center by The Joint Commission.
“Time is brain when it comes to stroke, so every second we save is critical. The sooner we can begin treating a stroke, the better the outcomes are for the patients we serve,” said Dr. Anna McCormick, the medical director in Taylorville Memorial’s emergency department.