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Comprehensive Stroke Center Receives Recertification from Joint Commission

Advance With MUSC Health
March 20, 2023
We're Certified! Comprehensive Stroke Center The Joint Commission American Heart Association American Stroke Association Certification Meets standards for Comprehensive Stroke Center

The Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) at MUSC Health has received recertification from the Joint Commission, the most demanding certification program that recognizes institutions meeting the highest standards of care for stroke patients. 

“The Joint Commission certification assures our community that we are capable of caring for the most complex stroke patients through our continuum of care, from clinics to post-operative care,” said Christine Holmstedt, D. O., FAHA, Professor of Neurology and Emergency Medicine, and Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center. 

What is a comprehensive stroke center?

A CSC is defined as a hospital that has specialized cerebrovascular neurosurgeons available 24/7, a neuroscience intensive care unit, and the most advanced technology for imaging and procedures. A highly integrated team of providers completes the comprehensive care picture.

MUSC Health’s CSC, because it’s located at an academic medical center, also offers new innovative treatments through clinical trials. In addition, the CSC hosts a tele-stroke program that connects its stroke specialists with 40 hospitals across South Carolina.

"We provide the full spectrum of care, from community outreach to outpatient clinics, so that truly embraces that comprehensive care. We take care of the entire stroke patient,” said Christina Blake, BSN, RN, SCRN, Stroke Program Manager.

Why CSC certification matters to you

  • Strokes require immediate, expert care. EMS routing protocols are written to direct ambulances to the mostly highly certified stroke centers.

  • Well-organized, highly trained teams are the hallmark of certification. Nurses, physicians, sub-specialists, pharmacists, and many other providers work together as a cohesive team.

  • You’ll receive a consistent approach to care, which reduces variation and the risk of error.

  • Joint Commission-certified CSC’s attract top-level medical staff.

What happens during a Joint Commission site visit?

Two JC auditors spent two days at MUSC Health. They inspected facilities and equipment, reviewed patients’ and personnel records, analyzed outcomes data, evaluated training programs, interviewed patients and staff, just to name a few of their performance measures. Afterward, they met with Dr. Holmstedt and CSC staff to go over areas to be improved – typical and expected -- and areas in which the program is following best practice. 

“They were impressed with our commitment to research and to innovation through our telestroke program,” said Dr. Holmstedt.

Quality of care, quality of life

MUSC Health’s CSC received its initial Joint Commission certification in 2015 and has been recertified every two years since. "We’re leading the way in the nation in stroke care and research, so you’re going to receive the most comprehensive care. We have the expertise and technology and Joint Commission standards,” said Blake. In 2015, stroke was the third leading cause of death in South Carolina. Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the sixth leading cause.