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St. Mary’s Hospital named Primary Stroke Center

Richmond, Va. (February 23, 2006) Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital has earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ as a Primary Stroke Center from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) after a thorough on-site review. An independent, not-for-profit organization, the Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standard setting and accrediting body in health care.

JCAHO’s Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.

“This accreditation as a Primary Stroke Center spotlights the already high quality of stroke care and services that our physicians and staff at St. Mary’s Hospital provides to our patients,” says Michael K. Kerner, executive vice president and administrator, Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. “This distinction is a tribute to the excellent care provided to stroke patients and the support to their families by our physicians, nurses and staff..”

In receiving the Primary Stroke Center designation, St. Mary’s stroke care program was evaluated on its emergency medical services, a 24-hour emergency department, its acute stroke unit, radiology and imaging, medical services, rehabilitation and laboratory services. St. Mary’s also was evaluated on its medical leadership, including its Stroke Medical Director and its Program coordinator, and its ability to provide comprehensive data, quality and process indicators, ongoing performance improvement activities, and ongoing community and professional education. JCAHO also cited St. Mary’s for its application of current research and designing a stroke care program with a fully interdisciplinary team engaged in the care of all acute stroke patients.

According to Tim Shephard, PhD, CNS, the Stroke Program Coordinator at St. Mary’s, “The level of training for stroke center staff at St. Mary’s exceeds the standards set by the Joint Commission. Our system of stroke care is based on the most recent medical evidence, leading to the best possible outcomes for our patients, and it is rewarding to have these efforts validated by the Joint Commission.” To maintain its accreditation as a Primary Stroke Center, St. Mary’s must submit quality and performance data every year and undergo an on-site survey at least every two years.

Each year about 750,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation's third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

According to Robert J. Cohen, M.D. of Neurological Associates, “stroke is a medical emergency and time is of the essence. St. Mary’s Hospital is able to provide the rapid and appropriate response to this emergency.”

Founded in 1951, the Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, please visit

Located in Richmond’s near West End, St. Mary’s Hospital is one of the Richmond region’s busiest hospitals. Its emergency department – ranked in the top 10 percent of America's hospitals for emergency care – sees approximately 48,000 patients annually. Specialty practice areas include a nationally-recognized joint replacement center and orthopedics, cardiac care with 24-hour cardiac catheterization labs; pediatrics and a technologically-advanced neonatal intensive care unit; an award-winning cancer care center; comprehensive women’s services; and general surgery. For 30 years, its Cancer Care Center has received continuous approval from the American College of Surgeons, and in 2005 the Surgical Review Corporation named St. Mary’s a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence.

St. Mary’s Hospital is part of Bon Secours Richmond Health System, which includes four hospitals, numerous outpatient and diagnostic facilities, physician groups, a school of nursing and a school of medical imaging. Recognized for a seventh consecutive year by Working Mother magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers,” Bon Secours Richmond Health System offers excellent childcare benefits, flexible working hours, work/life benefits and career advancement opportunities.

Bon Secours Richmond is a member of Bon Secours Health System, Inc., a national Catholic health care system with a healing ministry that serves 15 communities in nine states throughout the eastern United States.

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