DHR Health Marks 1 Year Anniversary of Becoming the First Joint Commission Certified Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center in the Region

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DHR Health among an elite group of health care organizations focused on highly-specialized stroke cases

Pictured above: the multispecialty stroke team at DHR Health that earned the Rio Grande Valley’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification by the Joint Commission. For more information about the DHR Health Neuroscience Institute, call 956-362-8500.

Edinburg, TX— Marking the one year anniversary of being designated as the region’s first Joint Commission Certified Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center, DHR Health remains proud to offer patients in the Rio Grande Valley the highest level of specialized care.  DHR Health is the first hospital south of San Antonio to achieve this certification and has also received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers.

A Level I Comprehensive Stroke Center, DHR Health joins an elite group of hospitals that can provide highly-specialized stroke care. There are currently 33 hospitals across Texas designated as a Level I Comprehensive Stroke Center.   

To be designated as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, hospitals must demonstrate 24/7 availability of specialists such as neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, intensivists, and neurologists. A Comprehensive Stroke Center has to adhere to rigorous clinical protocols, perform high volumes of procedures and demonstrate excellent clinical outcomes. The designation also requires a demonstrated commitment to stroke-related research.

During the first year of certification, DHR Health was awarded the American Stroke Association Get with the Guidelines Gold Plus Stroke Award and Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite Award.  This award recognizes a hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

In 2019 the DHR Comprehensive Stroke Center administered over 70 cases of Alteplase with zero hemorrhagic bleed complications despite the national average being approximately 6 percent.     

Additionally, DHR Health unveiled its 12-bed neuroscience step-down unit in January 2020, expanding access to the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. The unit was renovated to provide additional access to world-class neurological expertise at DHR Health.  This new neuroscience unit has cardiac monitoring and state-of-the-art EEG monitoring equipment as well as an epilepsy monitoring room for pediatric patients within the pediatric intensive care unit.  The unit will provide care to neurology, neurosurgery and epilepsy patients.

“DHR Health is committed to excelling in quality patient care for all neurological conditions including stroke and spine care.  There is no need for patients to leave the Rio Grande Valley when they can get the care they need right here at home”, states Juan Padilla, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.N.S., DHR Health’s chief of neuroscience. 

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DHR Health’s Neuroscience Institute provides care for patients affected by a stroke, epilepsy, movement disorders, brain and spine injuries as well as other neurological issues.  It has a dedicated neuroscience intensive care unit with advanced monitoring and EEG capabilities in each patient room.  Within the institute, the Comprehensive Stroke Center provides multidisciplinary care, including neurology, neurosurgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy as well as case management. 

Providing true comprehensive neurologic care, the DHR Health Neuroscience Institute is also home to the region’s only BlueCross BlueShield of Texas Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery with care provided by the regions’ only fellowship-trained spine surgeons; Dr. Achal Patel and Dr. Jaime Villarreal.  Hospitals designated

as Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery demonstrate expertise in cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, resulting in fewer patient complications and hospital readmissions compared to other hospitals. Designated hospitals must also maintain national accreditation to be designated.   

Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Last year less than 35% of stroke patients arrived at DHR within the recommended treatment timeframe, so. 

DHR Health focuses strong efforts on educating the community on the signs and symptoms of a stroke and when to call 911. To do this, they consistently raise awareness of the acronym F.A.S.T: 

F – face drooping

A – arm weakness

S – speech difficulty

T – time to call 911 

The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The familiar Heart-Check mark now helps consumers evaluate their choices in hospital care. Each mark given to a hospital is earned by meeting specific standards for the care of patients with heart disease and/or stroke. The Heart-Check mark can only be displayed by hospitals that have achieved and defined requirements set by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. For more information on the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Hospital Accreditation Program visit www.heart.org/myhospital.

About Blue Distinction Centers

Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care. Each facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on bcbs.com. Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

DHR Health

DHR Health was founded in 1997 to help over 1.2 million residents resolve limited health care access challenges in a community that lacked public and county hospitals. Today, it is a modern, 500+ bed full-service health system serving over 280,000 patients annually, with 5500+ employees, over 650 physicians and more than 1,400 nurses dedicated to offering a full-continuum of care in over 70 different specialties and subspecialties. DHR Health proudly boasts the best specialty care in the region, a 24/7 functioning level-one trauma center, a robust clinical research division, and developing graduate medical education programs. DHR Health has revolutionized the health care landscape of the Rio Grande Valley and continues to raise the standard of care and transform the health care delivery model for the benefit all local residents. To learn more, visit www.dhrhealth.com.

 To learn more about the Comprehensive Stroke Center at DHR Health, call the DHR Health Neuroscience Institute at (956) 362-8500.

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