It was a silver celebration when the NorthBay Healthcare Stroke Steering Committee earned high honors from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association in May. The Silver Achievement Award is given to programs that achieve at least 12 consecutive months of 85 percent or higher adherence to all “Get With The Guidelines Stroke Achievement Indicators” to improve quality of patient care and outcomes.
NorthBay was recognized for this achievement of compliance for its performance in 2012. This fall, NorthBay will seek certification from The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center, according to Julian Gallegos, NorthBay’s stroke clinical practice manager and nurse practitioner. “Our next goal after certification is to earn the Gold Award, from the American Heart and Stroke associations, which can only be achieved after an organization has adhered to the standards for two years,” explains Rhonda Martin, Assistant Vice President of Nursing Operations.
There are two kinds of stroke—one caused by a blockage, the other by a hemorrhage. When NorthBay went live with Phase II in November 2012, it allowed Emergency Department staff to use clot-dissolving medication on patients with strokes caused by blockages, and admit them for ongoing care.
Patients suffering hemorrhagic strokes were routinely sent to Mercy Neurological Institute in Sacramento, at least until this spring. The arrival of neurological surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Dembner meant that NorthBay could treat hemorrhagic strokes, sending only the most critical cases to Sacramento.
NorthBay continues to partner with Mercy, using InTouch robots to connect physicians and patients in Solano County with Mercy neurological physicians in Sacramento for real-time consultations when necessary. The program is being guided by an interdisciplinary steering committee, headed by Dr. Shahid Rehman, medical director for the stroke program.