Grossmont Healthcare District commits $4 million for Comprehensive Stroke Center designation

Pictured left to right: Dr. Julie Phillips, SGH Emergency Medicine; Michael Emerson, past GHD board president; Scott Evans, SGH CEO; Sheila Erickson, SGH director of Acute Care; Mary Elington, Sharp HealthCare vice president of Orthopedics and Neurosciences.
Photo credit: Sharp Grossmont Hospital

The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) recently announced it will allocate $4 million to partner with Sharp Grossmont Hospital in an effort to achieve the highest level of stroke patient care.

The GHD board unanimously approved the expenditure that will provide resources for the hospital’s efforts to be designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center in 2019.

Since 2006, the hospital has been providing high-quality service to stroke patients as a Primary Stroke Center. Recently, the hospital was recertified by The Joint Commission with the Gold Seal of Approval for healthcare quality.

“The hospital’s next tier of compliance in achieving high-level, multi-disciplined, stroke-related standards is to become a Comprehensive Stroke Center,” according to Scott Evans, CEO of Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

If the designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center is approved, Sharp Grossmont Hospital will be among an elite group of acute-care hospitals to achieve the prestigious certification. The designation is determined by two entities, including The Joint Commission, the nation’s largest standards-setting and accrediting body in the U.S., and the Dallas-based American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association, an AHA affiliate division. The advanced certification is awarded for a two-year period.

“Achieving such designation will demonstrate the greatest level of commitment to the East County community by providing a stroke program equipped with a solid infrastructure and highly trained staff to handle the most complex stroke cases for better outcomes,” said Evans.

“The Comprehensive Stroke Center designation will take our stroke care to a higher level for patients who require intensive care and specialized techniques that aren’t always available at most primary stroke centers,” said Mary Elington, vice president of Orthopedics and Neurosciences with Sharp HealthCare.

Evans said certain standards, competencies and metrics in prevention, treatment and medical staff education, along with a rigorous onsite review, will be part of earning the Comprehensive Stroke Center designation. For example, specialized equipment must be available, including a bi-plane angiography to help doctors treat acute stroke patients. Evans said some of the equipment is included in the recently opened Sharp Grossmont Hospital Burr Heart & Vascular Center, which has a bi-plane cardiac catheterization lab, as well as other state-of-the-art imaging equipment.

“With stroke, every second counts,” said Michael Emerson, past GHD board president. “Those 65 and older make up the fastest growing segment of the East County’s population and we have the highest volume of stroke cases in the county. Yet, our residents are the greatest distance from any existing comprehensive stroke facilities. Now that the new Burr Heart & Vascular Center is seeing patients, we are in a great position to take the hospital to the highest level. The board is proud to make this commitment of $4 million to partner with Sharp Grossmont Hospital to become a Comprehensive Stroke Center.”

According to the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

About Grossmont Healthcare District
The Grossmont Healthcare District is a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in the East Region. Formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital, GHD now leases operations to Sharp HealthCare via a public-private partnership and continues to own the hospital on behalf of local taxpayers. The District is governed by a five-member board of directors, each elected to four-year terms, who represent more than 500,000 people residing within the District’s 750 square miles in San Diego’s East County. For more information about GHD, visit www.grossmonthealthcare.org.

About Sharp Grossmont Hospital
Sharp Grossmont Hospital has been serving the East County community for more than 60 years. It is the largest not-for-profit, full-service, acute-care hospital in San Diego’s East County and is part of Sharp HealthCare. The hospital is known for its clinical excellence in emergency and critical care, cardiac and cancer care, surgery, stroke care, orthopedics, rehabilitation, behavioral health, women’s and children’s health and hospice care. The hospital offers extensive outpatient services and prevention programs such as home infusion, sleep disorder care, wound care and hyperbaric medicine to support Sharp HealthCare’s emphasis on community health and wellness. Sharp Grossmont is a Magnet-designated hospital and committed to providing the highest quality care. For more information about Sharp Grossmont Hospital, visit www.sharp.com.