Hackensack University Medical Center Earns Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

February 5, 2020

On January 14, 2020, Hackensack Meridian Health’s Hackensack University Medical Center earned Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) certification from The Joint Commission, a national healthcare accreditation organization. Hackensack University Medical Center is the ninth hospital in New Jersey — and one of fewer than 200 hospitals in the United States — to earn the CSC certification, joining JFK Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center as the third CSC-certified facility in the Hackensack Meridian Health network.

The CSC certification — which is awarded in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association — is the highest level of certification for hospitals with specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases.

“Our CSC certification demonstrates Hackensack University Medical Center’s commitment to providing the highest-quality stroke care using the most advanced procedures, technology and treatments,” said Mark D. Sparta, PT, MPA, FACHE, President and Chief Hospital Executive at Hackensack University Medical Center and Executive Vice President of Population Health at Hackensack Meridian Health. “Members of our community can rest assured that if they or their loved one needs stroke treatment at Hackensack University Medical Center, they will receive care that meets or surpasses national standards of excellence.”

Before receiving its latest CSC certification, Hackensack University Medical Center was certified by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. Primary Stroke Center certification means that a facility is equipped to provide advanced stroke care, including administering tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a “clot-busting” medication. Hackensack University Medical Center achieved its upgraded CSC certification status as a result of interdisciplinary program enhancements, including:

  • The ability to treat both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, including brain aneurysms
  • Offering the most complex neurosurgical procedures, including intra-arterial stroke treatment procedures, such as thrombectomies to remove blood clots
  • Establishing a dedicated Neurocritical Care Unit that provides specialized post-stroke care

“Hackensack University Medical Center’s CSC certification is proof that our stroke care specialists are ready and able provide patients with the best possible stroke care and treat the most complicated and serious strokes when seconds count,” said Martin S. Gizzi, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the Cerebrovascular Diseases Program at Hackensack University Medical Center.

To earn its CSC designation, Hackensack University Medical Center’s stroke care team was required to collect and report data showing that the hospital met or exceeded standardized performance measures. In addition to collecting and reporting data to The Joint Commission, Hackensack University Medical Center also was required to establish a performance improvement program that promotes ongoing analysis of patient outcome data and allows for future stroke care innovations.

“The collaborative, high-quality care consistently provided by the entire stroke team at Hackensack University Medical Center has made our CSC designation a reality,” said Florian Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Neuroscience Institute and the Department of Neurology at Hackensack University Medical Center. “At Hackensack University Medical Center and across the Hackensack Meridian Health network, we are committed to continuing to raise the bar for stroke care excellence.”

The Comprehensive Stroke Center at Hackensack University Medical Center — the largest and busiest of its kind in Bergen County — provides rapid evaluation and comprehensive care to nearly 1,000 patients each year who have experienced a stroke. In addition to receiving certification from the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Hackensack University Medical Center has been designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the State of New Jersey since 2007. The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have recognized Hackensack University Medical Center’s exceptional stroke care program by including the hospital in the Stroke Honor Roll of the “Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus” Performance Achievement Award and Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus.

In addition to Hackensack University Medical Center, 11 other Hackensack Meridian Health facilities have earned stroke center certification from The Joint Commission, including:

  • Bayshore Medical Center, Holmdel – Primary Stroke Center
  • Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune – Comprehensive Stroke Center
  • JFK Medical Center, Edison – Comprehensive Stroke Center
  • Mountainside Medical Center, Montclair – Primary Stroke Center
  • Ocean Medical Center, Brick – Primary Stroke Center
  • Packsack Valley Medical Center, Westwood – Primary Stroke Center
  • Palisades Medical Center, North Bergen – Primary Stroke Center
  • Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy – Primary Stroke Center
  • Raritan Bay Medical Center, Old Bridge – Primary Stroke Center
  • Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank – Primary Stroke Center
  • Southern Ocean Medical Center, Manahawkin – Primary Stroke Center