The Code Stroke Team at South Georgia Medical Center has received the Hospital STAR Award for 2017 from the Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry.The STAR award is given annually to recognize one hospital for ensuring that Georgia residents receive the highest quality stroke care. The Coverdell STAR award is a first for SGMC, following three consecutive wins as the Coverdell Champion Hospital of the Year, and numerous awards from the American Heart & Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines Program.According to Stroke View, the newsletter of the Georgia Department of Public Health/GA Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry, the Coverdell STAR award was developed to recognize clinicians and hospitals that continually strive to improve stroke care while mentoring and sharing best practices with others around the state.SGMC began its Code Stroke program in 2011. It has implemented coveted training programs in pre-hospital (EMS) care including identification of stroke symptoms, emergency department care, inpatient care that includes multidisciplinary rounds, acute rehab and palliative care services. SGMC was also one of the first hospitals to pilot a program to address post-hospital transitions of care as well as developing a testing a 30-day follow-up questionnaire to improve outcomes for stroke survivors.Neurohospitalist Dr. Brian Dawson, who leads the Code Stroke Team at SGMC, said, “This peer nominated award celebrates the individual team members, as well as the hospital leaders who provide the resources for us to deliver exemplary care to acute stroke patients. While SGMC won the award, the real winners are the stroke patients who benefit from the advanced training and techniques our work with Coverdell allows.”The Coverdell STAR award also recognizes SGMC’s commitment to stroke care which includes average door-to-needle times of less than 45 minutes for administering activase (t-PA), a clot-busting medication given to patients who meet specific criteria for ischemic stroke.SGMC Interim CEO Heath Evans said, “This is another example of the exemplary care that is available in Valdosta. Our Stroke team has worked incredibly hard. It is very worthy of this award and the state and national recognition it carries.”SGMC Neurohospitalist Dr. Brian Dawson assesses a patient for stroke symptoms upon arrival by EMS.