NEWS | August 26, 2011

UC Davis Medical Center recertified as an advanced primary stroke center


UC Davis Medical Center has been recertified as an advanced primary stroke center by the Joint Commission, recognizing the medical center's exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes in stroke care.

"Providing excellent neurovascular care is a high priority at UC Davis and the primary reason why this certification process is important to us," said Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer of the medical center. "We achieved this recognition because of teams throughout the medical center -- from emergency medicine to neurology to physical therapy -- who use their expertise to meet the special needs of stroke patients and reduce their chances of long-term disability."

Dr. Verro © UC Regents
Piero Verro

A stroke occurs when one of the blood vessels that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot (ischemic stroke) or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke), causing parts of the brain to start to die. A third type of stroke -- transient ischemic attack -- is caused by a temporary blood clot and is often called a "warning" stroke. Each year, 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke, which is one of the leading causes of serious, long-term disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Earlier this year, UC Davis received a Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for its commitment to and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients.

"Our goal is to assure that stroke patients immediately receive state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment followed by intensive, thorough support for recovery," said Piero Verro, professor of neurology and director of the UC Davis Stroke Program. "This latest achievement proves we are achieving that goal."

A symbol of quality and high performance standards, stroke center certification is associated with improved outcomes, decreased costs and reduced recurrences. Sacramento County Office of Emergency Medical Services guidelines direct ambulances to transport patients with stroke symptoms to hospitals certified as primary stroke centers. Stroke also is a key element of cardiovascular disease and neuroscience, which are among the focus areas of the UC Davis Health System Strategic Plan.

UC Davis Medical Center received its first primary stroke center certification in July 2009. For recertification, a surveyor from the Joint Commission visited the medical center on Aug. 15, and the Joint Commission notified the medical center of its recertification on Aug. 16, noting no recommendations for improvement. Such certifications are customarily valid for up to two years.

The Joint Commission's Primary Stroke Center Certification program was developed in 2003 in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and is based on Brain Attack Coalition recommendations. More information is available at

UC Davis Medical Center is a comprehensive academic medical center where clinical practice, teaching and research converge to advance human health. Centers of excellence include the National Cancer Institute-designated UC Davis Cancer Center; the region's only level 1 pediatric and adult trauma centers; the UC Davis MIND Institute, devoted to finding treatments and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders; and the UC Davis Children's Hospital. The medical center serves a 33-county, 65,000-square-mile area that stretches north to the Oregon border and east to Nevada. It further extends its reach through the award-winning telemedicine program, which gives remote, medically underserved communities throughout California unprecedented access to specialty and subspecialty care. For more information, visit