National board tabs LI hospital for rare stroke honor

Brain gain: Stony Brook University Hospital has earned a rare Comprehensive Stroke Center designation from The Joint Commission.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

The nation’s oldest and largest healthcare accrediting body has bestowed a rare designation upon Stony Brook University Hospital.

The hospital announced this week that it has earned Comprehensive Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission, making it the first Suffolk County hospital and one of only 200 national hospitals – out of more than 5,800 eligible institutions – to earn the distinction.

The elite Comprehensive Stroke Center designation indicates the hospital’s ability to accept and treat the most complex stroke cases. To receive it, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center and “meet additional requirements,” according to SBUH, including advanced imaging capabilities, round-the-clock availability of specialized treatments and proper educational levels and professional competencies among staffers.

The general idea is to create a cohesive stroke-management clinical team, establish an unwavering treatment approach, reduce risk factors and other variables and demonstrate “a commitment to a higher standard of clinical service,” according to the Stony Brook hospital.

Ernest Baptiste: A much-needed win for stroke victims.

And SBUH hits all the marks, according to Chief Executive Officer Ernest Baptiste, who trumpeted the designation as “the highest level a stroke center can achieve.”

“While this is a significant achievement for Stony Brook University Hospital, it is our patients and the communities we serve who benefit the most from having this level of stroke care available close to home,” Baptiste said.

Among the advanced stroke-related procedures available at SBUH is mechanical thrombectomy, an emergency procedure used to remove clots from venous or arterial blood vessels. That particular course of treatment is essential to stroke care, according to the hospital, which notes that 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic strokes, in which blood flow to the brain is hampered by vessel blockages.

Stony Brook University Hospital is also the first (and to date, only) Long Island institution deploying the Apollo/Artemis systems, “minimally invasive interventions” that treat cerebral hemorrhages (bleeding inside the brain) by drilling a tiny hole in the skull to extract blood with little trauma to surrounding tissue.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, with more than 795,000 Americans suffering a stroke annually, including roughly 610,000 first-time stroke victims. But new advances in stroke treatment and prevention are having an effect, according to SBUH, which according to The Joint Commission proudly rides the leading edge of such medical interventions.

“[The Comprehensive Stroke Center certification] is certainly a testament to the advanced level of quality stroke care provided at Stony Brook University Hospital,” Baptiste said.