Prince George, Va. — Residents of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, and Petersburg now have a new lifesaving level of care as TriCities ER (a department of John Randolph Medical Center) has been certified as Acute Stroke Ready by The Joint Commission. The certification recognizes the freestanding emergency room’s efforts to improve care for stroke patients presenting to the emergency department for better outcomes.

Staff have been working toward the voluntary certification since the facility opened in 2017. The process involves assessing and improving care for stroke patients such as working with EMS providers, training emergency department staff, radiology staff, laboratory, inpatients units, and rehabilitation specialists to ensure they are ready to handle stroke patients who are transported to the emergency room. The assessment process certifies the hospital’s ability to provide access, stabilization, diagnosis, and treatment for patients with stroke symptoms, and to then transport them to a primary stroke center such as John Randolph Medical Center or a comprehensive stroke center such as Johnston-Willis Hospital.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Acute Stroke Ready Hospital Certification recognizes hospitals that meet standards to support better outcomes for stroke care as part of a stroke system of care. Developed in collaboration with The Joint Commission, eligibility standards include:

  • A dedicated stroke-focused program
  • Staffing by qualified medical professionals trained in stroke care
  • A relationship with local emergency management systems (EMS) that encourages training in field assessment tools and communication with the hospital prior to bringing a patient with a stroke to the emergency department
  • Access to stroke expertise 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (in person or via telemedicine) and transfer agreements with facilities that provide primary or comprehensive stroke services.
  • 24/7 ability to perform rapid diagnostic imaging and laboratory testing to facilitate the administration for IV thrombolytics in eligible patients
  • Streamlined flow of patient information while protecting patient rights, security and privacy
  • Use of data to assess and continually improve quality of care for stroke patients

This certification is provided through a partnership between the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and The Joint Commission, the nation's largest independent healthcare evaluation body. Learn more about the differences between each of our stroke certification programs.

The certification, awarded to the TriCities ER in April, has already been tested. “We had a patient walk into the facility with right-side numbness,” said Ashley Hansen, John Randolph Medical Center’s disease specific coordinator. “We activated our system to prepare for the patient’s arrival and were able to administer Tenecteplase within 42 minutes of the patient’s arrival, ensuring damage to the patient’s brain was minimized. We then transferred the patient quickly to HCA Virginia’s premier comprehensive stroke center at Johnston-Willis Hospital for treatment. The patient responded well and was released home within a few days, demonstrating how the system works to provide the best patient outcomes.”