Stroke Team Earns National Awards for Meeting Highest Standards of Care

Tulsa, Okla. (Feb. 17, 2015) — The St. John Heyman Stroke Center at St. John Medical Center has been awarded the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA)'s most prestigious accolades in quality stroke care: the Get With The Guidelines® Gold Plus Award, the newly created "Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus" award, and certification as a comprehensive stroke center by the AHA/ASA and The Joint Commission. The awards were presented Feb. 12 at the 2015 International Stroke Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

The St. John Heyman Stroke Center has earned five consecutive Gold Plus Awards, which applaud consistently high adherence to core treatment guidelines. The Heyman Stroke Center has been listed on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll for four consecutive years for excellence in door-to-treatment times, which fall well below the national average of other stroke care providers.

The 2015 Stroke Conference introduced the "Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus" award, the highest stroke honor roll award in which St. John received inaugural recognition. This recognition comes with AHA/ASA's addition of two levels of award to the Target: Stroke Honor Roll as part of the national campaign "Target: Stroke Phase II." Elite Plus status is reserved for hospitals with door-to-needle times of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within 60 minutes for at least 75 percent of applicable patients, and within 45 minutes for at least 50 percent of applicable patients. tPA is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to treat an ischemic stroke. Quicker treatment is associated with better outcomes for patients who qualified for this "clot-buster." St. John was the only hospital in eastern Oklahoma and one of 18 in the SouthWest Affiliate to meet Elite Plus standards.

"These honors demonstrate our commitment to ensuring our patients receive care based on internationally respected clinical guidelines," said Anna Wanahita, MD, medical director of the St. John Heyman Stroke Center. "Our multidisciplinary stroke team is dedicated to continuously improving the quality of stroke care for our patients. These awards belong to everyone who is taking care of our stroke patients at St. John, including EMS/paramedics, physicians, nurses and technicians in the emergency department, as well as radiology, intensive care, the stroke telemetry unit and rehabilitation. We earn these awards because everyone understands the importance of time in treating acute stroke victims, and everyone knows we have to work together. Our team always sees patient care as a priority, no matter what time of day or day of the week."

The St. John Heyman Stroke Center is the first comprehensive stroke center in eastern Oklahoma and one of only 84 nationwide. The certification, presented to only the nation's top health care providers, reflects their ability and commitment to treat even the most complex strokes.

"We are pleased to recognize St. John for its commitment and dedication to stroke care," said Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH, national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee, executive director of the interventional cardiovascular program at Brigham & Women's Hospital, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality-improvement measures can reduce patients' length of stay and 30-day readmission rate and reduce disparity gaps in care."

Anna Wanahita, MD; Heather Lorenz, RN; Stacie Boyd, RN; Erin Robertson, RN; Elizabeth Radford, RN; and Krista Thacker represented St. John Medical Center at the Quality Achievement Awards recognition event. They also helped present the abstract "Oral Care Program Decreases Length of Stay and Length of Time Oral Foods and Fluids are Withheld in Stroke Patients" during the State-of-the-Science Stroke Nursing Symposium portion of the conference.

To learn more about St. John's stroke team, visit or call the St. John PulseLine, 918-744-0123. For more information about AHA/ASA’s quality improvement programs, visit

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