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SMH Earns Advanced Certifications in Stroke, Heart Failure Care

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Sarasota Memorial once again has demonstrated its superiority in treating two life-threatening conditions that affect millions of people each year, earning special Joint Commission certification for its congestive heart failure program and advanced re-certification for stroke care.

To earn the heart failure certification, the hospital’s inpatient program underwent a rigorous, on-site evaluation by The Joint Commission late last year. Surveyors measured against a list of Joint Commission performance standards through an assessment of a program’s processes, the program’s ability to evaluate and improve care within its own organization, and interviews with patients and staff.

To earn the advanced certification for stroke care, our program had to meet the standards for Disease-Specific Care Certification plus additional, clinically-specific requirements and expectations, including compliance with consensus-based national standards, effective use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and implementing an organized approach to performance measurement and improvement activities.

The disease-specific certifications are awarded for a two-year period.

Although this was the first time that Sarasota Memorial earned the congestive heart failure certification, it’s not our first recognition in this specialty. According to a recent federal study, the hospital also has the lowest (best) heart failure readmission rate of any Florida hospital and is ranked in the top 15 hospitals nationally.

Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood throughout the body. If left untreated, it can impair the function of virtually every organ, and on a nationwide basis, contributes to 300,000 deaths each year. Sarasota Memorial provides heart failure patients with specialized medication, education and diet to help manage their condition, both in the hospital and in the outpatient Heart Failure Center.

The Joint Commission’s stroke re-certification is the latest in a series of honors for SMH’s program, which is the only Comprehensive Stroke Center in Southwest Florida. The special “Comprehensive” designation, which is given by the state of Florida, recognizes that the organization offers the most advanced technologies and specialists to treat stroke. Sarasota Memorial also has received the American Heart Association’s and American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, recognizing our success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients. The comprehensive rehabilitation program’s stroke accreditation also recently was renewed by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

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