Certification for Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Centers Offered by Joint Commission and AHA/ASA
January 28, 2018—The Joint Commission, in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) announced the Certification for Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Centers (TSC) program.
This new level of stroke certification, which became effective on January 1, identifies hospitals that meet rigorous standards for performing mechanical endovascular thrombectomy in patients with large vessel occlusive (LVO) ischemic strokes.
Through this new certification, the Joint Commission and AHA/ASA will:
- Provide model language for state health departments regarding stroke center recognition;
- Develop educational tools and resources for emergency medical services agencies; and
- Support the systems of care across the country that are providing patient access to appropriate stroke centers.
This is the fourth level of stroke center certification offered by the Joint Commission and the AHA/ASA; additional certifications include Acute Stroke Ready, Primary Stroke, and Comprehensive Stroke.
In the announcement, David Baker, MD, Executive Vice President for Health Care Quality Evaluation at the Joint Commission, commented, "Because of their higher level of care, hospitals certified as Comprehensive Stroke Centers by the Joint Commission or another national organization are the preferred location for transporting patients with suspected LVO strokes. But in a recent survey of the Joint Commission's certified primary stroke centers, one-third of them reported that they also routinely performed endovascular thrombectomy treatment that could care for these patients. Multiple studies have proven endovascular thrombectomy treatment to be effective in saving lives and lowering disability from stroke, particularly if performed within 6 hours of the last time the patient was known to be well."
Edward C. Jauch, MD, Chair of AHA/ASA's Hospital Accreditation Stroke Subcommittee, added, "In large areas of the country, people who suffer LVO strokes face longer travel times to reach a Comprehensive Stroke Center, which lessens their chance for a rapid thrombectomy and better outcomes. Meanwhile, hospitals well-equipped to treat patients with LVO strokes may be bypassed because they do not meet existing requirements for comprehensive stroke center certification. The new TSC certification will help ensure that patients who need it can get timely treatment wherever they live."
Requirements for the TSC certification were guided by the AHA/ASA and additional scientific advice from experts across the country in endovascular therapy, neurosurgery, neurology, critical care medicine and emergency medicine, emergency medical services, and other disciplines responsible for comprehensive stroke treatment and stroke program management.