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Saint Francis Earns National Recognition for Stroke Treatment

September 8, 2021

Saint Francis Medical Center has received the American Heart Association’s Gold Plus Award for commitment to prioritizing quality care for stroke patients. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

“At Saint Francis, we know seconds matter for stroke patients,” says Dr. Maryann Reese, president and chief executive officer of Saint Francis Healthcare System. “Our colleagues and providers are dedicated to delivering the best outcomes and a quality experience to give patients and their families peace of mind.”

Saint Francis Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients as outlined by the American Heart Association. This is the second consecutive year Saint Francis has received this award, representing four cumulative years of exceeding the reporting metrics. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health and schedule a follow-up visit, as well as other care transition interventions.

“This award confirms our commitment to providing comprehensive, expert stroke care for all patients to continue improving the health of our community,” says April Ostendorf-Morris, APRN, ACNS-BC, MSN, RN, stroke coordinator at Saint Francis.

The Stroke Center is also certified as a Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and a Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Time Critical Diagnosis Level II Stroke Center.

“We are pleased to recognize Saint Francis Medical Center for their commitment to stroke care,” says Lee H. Schwamm, MD, national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and executive vice chair of Neurology, director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the US suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and speeding recovery times.

The Stroke Center is staffed with a highly experienced team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, nurses, technicians, technologists and rehabilitation specialists who work closely with pre-hospital services like the Emergency Department and use the latest advancements in medical technology to expedite diagnosis and speed recovery.

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 9 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit

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