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AVMC Recertified as Advanced Primary Stroke Center

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(LANCASTER, Calif. – March 9, 2017) – Antelope Valley Medical Center’s Advanced Primary Stroke Center has received recertification from The Joint Commission and the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency. In the two years since its initial certification in December 2014, AVMC treated more than 1,500 stroke patients and is the only facility in the Antelope Valley to be certified by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

The recertification reaffirms that AVMC has the equipment, infrastructure, staff and training programs needed to quickly diagnose and treat patients presenting with acute stroke.

It comes as a result of an extensive on-site review and analysis The Joint Commission conducted of AVMC’s compliance with specific standards that have been proven to result in better outcomes for stroke patients. The surveyors found the hospital met or exceeded all requirements.

Only hospitals with certified stroke centers are equipped to quickly treat stroke victims. Immediate diagnosis and treatment are vital to reducing a patient’s risk of long-term disability and death. To effectively treat the most common type of stroke – ischemic stroke – an intravenous clot-dissolving medication must be administered quickly. In 2016 AVMC averaged 43 minutes from the time a stroke patient arrived at the hospital until the drug was administered, significantly lower than the 60-minute goal set by the American Stroke Association. In addition, AVMC recently administered this medication in 19 minutes from symptom onset. This is a tremendous accomplishment for the hospital’s emergency services. The hospital’s ability to consistently administer this medication rapidly contributes to improved patient outcomes.

"To ensure that Antelope Valley Medical Center is ready to quickly care for stroke patients at any time of the day or night, we have implemented a dedicated team of professionals who are specially trained to recognize the symptoms of stroke, identify what type of stroke a person is experiencing, and determine the best course of treatment," said Colleen Littlejohn, RN, BSN, PHN, stroke program coordinator at AVMC. "As a result, more patients are able to get the high level of care they need and, in many cases, more quickly resume their regular activities."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 800,000 people have a stroke in the U.S. each year. It is the nation’s leading cause of serious long-term disability and the fifth leading cause of death, claiming the lives of approximately 130,000 Americans annually.

"This recertification reflects not only the investments Antelope Valley Medical Center has made in equipment and facilities, but most importantly it is a tribute to our exceptional team of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who make sure that stroke patients receive exceptional care when they need it most," said Michael Wall, AVMC’s president and CEO. "Our community is fortunate to have here locally such a dedicated team whose collaboration and expertise is evident in the care they provide every day. And now it is nice to see that once again validated through this high and prestigious designation."