UCLA Health Center in Santa Monica Receives Stroke Designation

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica has been certified as a Primary Stroke Center. That designation was awarded in June by The Joint Commission, after a successful site visit in March.

This means paramedics will bring in suspected stroke patients to the hospital’s Nethercutt Emergency Center for further diagnostic assessment and treatment.

The Joint Commission surveyor conducting the March 24 site visit at the hospital had an unexpected opportunity to observe the stroke team’s response in real time.

Soon after the site visit began, Pamela Nye, Santa Monica’s programing coordinator, and other stroke team members were summoned by pager to two separate “code strokes”— one in the Intensive Care Unit, the other in the Nethercutt ER.

The UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, recently received certification as a primary stroke center. Members of the UCLA core team include (left to right) Wally Ghurabi, Dr. Doojin Kim and Palisadian Pamela Nye. Photo courtesy UCLA Health

The UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, recently received certification as a primary stroke center. Members of the UCLA core team include (left to right) Wally Ghurabi, Dr. Doojin Kim and Palisadian Pamela Nye. Photo courtesy UCLA Health

“The teams performed flawlessly,” Nye said. “The surveyor was able to view our people and protocols in real-life situations.” The surveyor later told Nye that in all her years conducting site visits, she had never been in a hospital where two codes occurred so soon after a survey started.

“Our team members knew exactly what to do and executed our protocols perfectly,” said Nye. “I was so proud.”

Nye, a Pacific Palisades resident, said the process for becoming a certified center takes months of planning and preparation by a core stroke team, supported by a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, therapists and other health professionals.

Nye, Dr. Doojin Kim and Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of emergency services, constitute UCLA-Santa Monica’s core team. “We are extremely proud to have earned this designation and look forward to serving our community with state-of-the-art stroke care,” said Kim, medical director of the hospital’s stroke program.

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center certification program was developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, incorporating standards set forth by the Brain Attack Coalition.

To receive certification, hospitals must have: 1.) a dedicated stroke program, 2.) qualified professionals trained in stroke care, 3.) individualized and patient-involved stroke care, 4.) coordinated post-discharge patient self-care, 5.) streamlined patient information and collection of treatment performance data, and 6.) continual assessment and improvement in quality of care.

The certification is good for two years but primary centers must provide quarterly reports on the eight core measures of stroke treatment. At the end of the first year, organizations must also demonstrate their continued compliance with standards and review performance-improvement activities. Pacific Palisades resident Dana Rivera is a co-leader of the hospital’s Stroke Support Group.

UCLA-Santa Monica has earned the “Get with the Guidelines—Stroke Silver-Plus Quality Achievement Award” from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. This award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to high-quality stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment that meets nationally accepted, evidence-based standards and recmmendations.

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