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SGMC Stroke Program Receives Two Prestigious Coverdell Awards

Posted on: February 22nd, 2013


South Georgia Medical Center has been awarded the “Georgia Coverdell Champion Hospital of the Year” for stroke care in the medium-sized hospital category, (101 to 350 beds) for 2013. The awards program aims to increase collaboration between hospitals and other health providers, develop improved protocols of treatment to provide better care for stroke patients, reduce the occurrence of subsequent strokes and lower the death rates from stroke.

The awards, which are given annually by the Georgia Coverdell Stroke Registry, are given to four hospitals based on the different size categories. The other hospitals that received the award are Putnam General Hospital (25 beds), Dekalb Medical Hillandale (26-100 beds), and Grady Health System (over 350 beds). Additionally, SGMC was awarded the Georgia Coverdell “Door to Needle Time” Hospital Award, which is bestowed upon hospitals that have shown a 20 percent decrease in door to needle time between 2011 and 2012.

Door to needle time is considered the golden hour in stroke treatment and involves the injection of a clot-busting medication, called t-PA (for eligible patients) within 60 minutes of admission. SGMC not only improved by over 20 percent but also has an average door to needle time of less than 60 minutes. Other hospitals that met the 20 percent improvement ranking were Atlanta Medical Center, Emory University Hospital, Grady Health System, and Gwinnett Medical Center.

Since SGMC established its stroke program in July of 2011, our EMS, Emergency department and stroke team, under the leadership of Neurohospitalist Dr. Brian Dawson, have worked tirelessly to build a top-notch program for residents in South Georgia,” said SGMC CEO Randy Sauls. “These awards attest to the program’s success.”The awards were announced in the Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry Quarterly Newsletter. The Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry (GCASR) was named in honor of Senator Paul Coverdell who died of a massive stroke in 2000.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health website, the GCASR program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control Paul S. Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry cooperative agreement and was established in 2001 as a prototype project implemented by the Emory University School of Medicine. Full implementation and incorporation into the State’s Division of Public Health (DPH) began in 2005. There are multiple areas of stoke care that are covered through this program.

These areas consist of rapid screening, diagnosis, and intervention for patients experiencing an acute stroke, to secondary prevention measures such as blood pressure control, smoking cessation, and the treatment of elevated cholesterol to reduce the incidence of a recurring stroke after dismissal from the hospital. The program also helps to improve rehabilitation services for stroke victims in an effort to reduce lasting disabilities due to the stroke.

The southeastern region of the United States records the highest incidence and mortality of strokes. Because of this, the region has been deemed as the “stroke belt.” GCASR and SHAPP (Stroke and Heart Attack Prevention Program) have teamed up in an effort to reduce long-term disabilities and heart disease-and-stroke related morbidity and mortality in the state of Georgia. For more information, call Community Relations at 229-259-4421.