At last count, 12 hospitals have received the coveted designation as "Comprehensive Stroke Centers," a new level of certification for advanced stroke care by the Joint Commission.
The Joint Commission examination process isn't exactly easy, neither on the heart, nor the brain of the physicians and other healthcare leaders being evaluated.
In formal announcements of their accomplishment, nearly all hospitals describe the Joint Commission review using one word: "rigorous."
"They were tough on us," neurologist Bob Carter, MD, PhD, chief of neurosurgery at the UC San Diego Medical Center in California told me in a recent interview, sharing some behind-the-scenes insights about the Joint Commission's in-depth analysis.
"They asked us a lot of hard questions, and pored over records in detail. It was probably the most rigorous [review] I had in 35 years as a neurosurgeon. This was one of the toughest exams we had."
UC San Diego Medical Center is among the most recent recipients of the Comprehensive Stroke Center designation established by the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
The designation recognizes significant effort in everything from training to infrastructure to providing state-of-the-art complex stroke care. As HealthLeaders Media reported in November, the comprehensive review process is much more extensive and lengthy than what is required for lesser designations, such as that of a Primary Stroke Center.