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HCGH Receives Two Significant Designations for Stroke Treatment Program

For Immediate Release                                
Contact:  Sharon Sopp, 410-740-7646,
June 6, 2013

COLUMBIA, MD – Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) has again received the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) re-designation as a primary stroke center for the State of Maryland. This designation is issued every five years.

HCGH also has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Gold Quality Achievement Award.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get with the Guidelines–Stroke Gold Quality Achievement Award addresses the important element of time,” said Johns Hopkins neurologist Eric Aldrich, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of Medical Affairs at HCGH. HCGH has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients treated in the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment for at least 24 months according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

In addition to the Get with the Guidelines-Stroke award, HCGH has been recognized as a recipient of the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, for improving stroke care. Only eight of 31 hospitals in the state received this recognition. Over the past quarter, at least 50 percent of the HCGH’s eligible ischemic stroke patients have received tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle’ time). A thrombolytic or clot-busting agent, tPA is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability.

About Howard County General Hospital

Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine is a not-for-profit health care provider with 249 licensed beds located in Columbia, Maryland. A comprehensive, acute-care medical center, Howard County General offers a full range of services, from neonatal care and pediatrics to oncology, orthopedics and geriatric services. The hospital has a professional staff of nearly 900 physicians and allied health professionals, representing more than 90 specialties and subspecialties; a workforce of more than 1,700 individuals and nearly 500 volunteers.