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Sacramento, Calif. – UC Davis Medical Center has been certified as an advanced primary stroke center by the Joint Commission, signifying that the medical center’s services have the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes for stroke patients.

A surveyor from the Joint Commission visited UC Davis Medical Center on July 13, and the Joint Commission notified the medical center of its certification on July 16. Such certifications are customarily valid for up to 24 months.

‘This terrific achievement is due to the medical center managers and staff who participated in standards compliance, survey preparation and our performance during the Joint Commission’s site survey,’ said Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer of the medical center. ‘Thanks to all of them for their hard work and commitment to quality care.’

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements and guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program in 2003.

Each year, about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

Guidelines of Sacramento County Emergency Medical Services Agency state that ambulances transporting acute stroke patients are to take them only to hospitals certified as primary stroke centers. The certification is associated with improved outcomes, decreased costs and decreased event recurrences.

The certification also is important because stroke patients represent a key teaching and research patient population. In addition, vascular disease and neuroscience are two of the four focus areas in the UC Davis Health System Strategic Plan, and stroke is an important element of those areas.

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