Munson Medical Center Certified as Comprehensive Stroke Center

Munson Medical Center Certified as Comprehensive Stroke Center

Munson Healthcare (MHC) is proud to announce that The Joint Commission (TJC) has certified Munson Medical Center (MMC) as a Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC), placing it among just 221 hospitals in the United States and one of twelve in the state of Michigan. This is the first-ever Comprehensive Stroke Center in Northern Michigan.

“This is a very proud day for Munson Healthcare and Munson Medical Center,” said Kathy Laraia, Munson Medical Center Interim President. “This designation speaks to the skill and dedication of our healthcare team to provide the very highest standard of care and Munson Healthcare’s commitment to ensuring more and better access to care for our communities across Northern Michigan.”

The Joint Commission’s Comprehensive Stroke Certification is the most demanding designation process in the country for stroke and designed for those hospitals that have specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases. This designation affirms Munson Healthcare’s technology, resources, and expertise in providing care for any type of stroke case.

“Just a little over three years ago, the most severe stroke cases needed to be transferred downstate by helicopter or ambulance which accounted for hundreds of Northern Michigan patients each year,” said Gary Rajah, MD, Endovascular/Cerebrovascular Neurosurgeon and Surgical Director, MHC Comprehensive Stroke Program who performed Northern Michigan’s first endovascular stroke intervention in August 2020. “The research is clear, where care is available, outcomes improve significantly and having the ability to treat any type of stroke, closer to the people of our region is helping save lives and preserving quality of life when minutes matter.”

“This designation signifies our ability to meet the highest standards across every touchpoint of care which means a better experience and better outcomes for our stroke patients,” said David Rosenbaum-HaLevi, MD, Interventional Neurologist, Medical Director MHC Comprehensive Stroke Program. “Our stroke interventionalists can assess brain images from anywhere using mobile tech and this enables us to triage complex cases to Munson Medical Center with a higher level of care while others are able to remain at Munson Hospitals locally in their community.”

Other aspects of the stroke care continuum this designation addresses include:

  • The ability to provide comprehensive interdisciplinary team-based care for all levels of severity of vascular neurologic injury. (brain bleed, abnormal blood vessels, blockage of blood flow to the brain)
  • Inpatient and outpatient medical and rehabilitation services
  • Stroke research and data management
  • Community outreach to educate on stroke prevention and the warning signs of stroke
  • Advanced technology to assess and treat stroke (BiPlane, VizAI, brain ultrasound, advanced perfusion imaging)
  • Rehab service partnership with Mary Free Bed
  • Surgical capabilities and vascular-trained interventionalists
  • Tele-stroke services with the University of Michigan
  • 24/7 coverage

The official designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center marks the culmination of two decades of work done by countless dedicated members of the healthcare team. Munson Medical Center first established an interdisciplinary stroke team in 2000, a stroke care unit in 2001, and earned certification as a Primary Stroke Center from The Joint Commission in 2012. For 10 consecutive years, MMC has earned The American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Award recognizing 85 percent of stroke patients receiving treatment in 60 minutes or less.

“This is all about people – the lives that we’ve been able to impact through our ongoing work to advance stroke care in Northern Michigan has been incredibly gratifying,” said Kersti Bruining, Medical Director, MHC Comprehensive Stroke Program. “We are so fortunate as a community to have access to this level of care but even more, the dedicated and compassionate people who use their expertise every day to save lives.”

A stroke occurs in the U.S. every 40 seconds impacting over 800,000 Americans a year. One in 6 people nationwide lack access to endovascular stroke intervention with the largest portion of that population living in rural areas.

“This is a team effort, and we are so proud of our entire healthcare team for crossing the finish line on this important milestone and delivering for our patients and communities,” added Rebecca Avers, Director of Nursing, Cardiac Cath Lab and Comprehensive Stroke.

As a reminder, to save the life of someone having a stroke it is important to B.E. F.A.S.T. This means if you or someone you love is experiencing BALANCE loss, EYESIGHT changes, FACE drooping, ARM or leg weakness, or SPEECH difficulty then it is TIME to call 911.

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Watch the Announcement - Dec. 19, 2023

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