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September 13, 2004

Penn Stroke Center Awarded JCAHO Certification
Also Among the First Certified Stroke Centers in the U.S.

(Philadelphia, PA) – The Penn Stroke Center of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) has received national certification as a Primary Stroke Center from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). HUP is the first hospital in the City of Philadelphia, and among the first academic hospitals in the nation, to achieve this status.

“We are proud and honored that the Penn Stroke Center is among the first in the country, and the only institution in the City of Philadelphia, to be designated as a Primary Stroke Center,” said Ralph W. Muller, Chief Executive Officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “This prestigious certification formally recognizes the ability of our center to provide fast, highly skilled treatment that improves stroke patients’ chances of recovery. It is further testament of the high quality and standard of care that the University of Pennsylvania Health System provides to the people of Philadelphia and surrounding areas.”

Penn’s Stroke Center, led by Scott Kasner, MD, is part of the Penn Neurological Institute of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which provides complete medical and surgical care for people with disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system. The Stroke Center offers comprehensive, state-of-the-art care for people who have had a stroke or other critical neurological conditions, many of which are not available at other area hospitals. In addition, patients at risk for stroke can be evaluated and treated using preventative strategies and risk-factor modification. Penn Stroke Center offers the combined expertise of neurologists, neurointensivists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, neuroscience nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, neuropsychologists, and rehabilitation medicine physicians.

To earn Primary Stroke Center certification from JCAHO, a hospital must: deploy rapid-response stroke-treatment teams; operate designated, inpatient stroke-care units; use comprehensive, written, stroke-care protocols; maintain an integrated system for managing stroke patients, with such services as at-hand brain imaging and interpretation; and express a commitment from administration--with strong clinical leadership--to providing up-to-date community education about stroke risks, symptoms and treatment. After submitting a comprehensive application in the Spring, Penn’s Stroke Center underwent an on-site review in July, which included: patient case reviews; evaluation of compliance with professional standards; assessment of qualifications of stroke caregivers; and interviews with staff, patients, and families.

JCAHO evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1951, it is the nation's predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Primary Stroke Centers are awarded certification for a two-year period and the Certification Program is based on recommendations by the Brain Attack Coalition and American Stroke Association, a national group of professional, voluntary and governmental entities dedicated to reducing the incidence, disabilities and death associated with stroke.

Each year, approximately 700,000 people in the United States suffer a new or recurrent stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious disability in the nation. On average, someone has a stroke every 45 seconds, and someone dies of one every three minutes. There are approximately 4.7 million stroke survivors in the United States today.

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PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation’s first integrated academic health system).

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System is comprised of: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

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