Published on October 07, 2021

Essentia Health earns prestigious award for efforts to improve stroke treatment

Essentia Health-Fargo is proud to receive the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus award from the American Heart Association (AHA) for our commitment to prioritizing innovative and high-quality care for stroke patients.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and speeding recovery times.

“The award from the American Heart Association is a testament to exemplary stroke care provided at Essentia Health,” said Dr. Venkata Dandamudi, an interventional neurologist at Essentia Health. “This is a byproduct of extraordinary teamwork among several specialties.”

Essentia Health-Fargo is one of only two Comprehensive Stroke Centers in North Dakota and has earned Gold Plus status from the AHA for many years. The majority of our stroke patients don’t come from Fargo; rather, they are from the entire state, as well as western Minnesota, meaning this comprehensive care is dedicated to improving stroke outcomes for people throughout our region.

Each year, Get With The Guidelines-Stroke participants apply for award recognition by demonstrating how their organization has committed to providing quality care for stroke patients. In addition to following treatment guidelines, participants also educate patients to help them manage their health and rehabilitation once at home.

“We are pleased to recognize Essentia Health-Fargo for its commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice-Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

Essentia Health-Fargo also received the AHA’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“The recognition from the American Heart Association puts us on the map with other top-notch stroke programs — not just in the region but in the country,” Dr. Dandamudi said. “We are proud of this accomplishment and will continue to provide our community with the highest level of care. We always aspire to be in the top tier of recognized hospitals for stroke care.”

Additionally, Essentia Health-Fargo received the AHA’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90% of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.”

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