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Published on May 31, 2013

Saint Mary’s Receives Second Gold Award for Outstanding Care of Stroke Patients

WATERBURY, Conn. (May 31, 2013) – Saint Mary’s Hospital has received the Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for 2013.“

We are proud to be part of the American Heart Association’s efforts. This award highlights the extraordinary care that our physicians, nurses and our entire stroke team provide for stroke patients and their families,” Chad W. Wable, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, who spoke at a recognition ceremony on May 31 in Saint Mary’s Stroke Center.

This is the second consecutive year that Saint Mary’s has been recognized with a Gold Award for outstanding stroke care. The hospital also received a Gold Quality Achievement Award for outstanding care of Heart Failure patients for 2013. Since 2009, Saint Mary’s has been recognized with five Gold awards for outstanding cardiac care and from the American Heart Association. 

This Gold Award for stroke recognizes Saint Mary’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted guidelines. Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps Saint Mary’s staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes to improve patient care and outcomes. The program provides hospitals with a web-based patient management tool, best practice discharge protocols and standing orders, along with a robust registry and real-time benchmarking capabilities to track performance. The quick and efficient use of guideline procedures can improve the quality of care for stroke patients and may reduce disability and save lives.

“Recent studies show that patients treated in hospitals participating in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program receive a higher quality of care and may experience better outcomes,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. “Saint Mary’s team is to be commended for their commitment to improving the care of their patients.”

Following Get With The Guidelines-Stroke treatment guidelines, patients are started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies including the use of medications such as tPA, antithrombotics and anticoagulation therapy, along with cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation counseling. These are all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients. Hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period of time to be eligible for the achievement awards.

“Saint Mary’s Hospital is dedicated to making our care for stroke patients among the best in the country. The American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program helps us to accomplish this goal,” said Dr. Peter Greco, a neurologist at Saint Mary’s Hospital and chair of its stroke program.

He noted that the average time for a stroke patient to have a CAT scan at Saint Mary’s is just 24 minutes; the state standard is 25 minutes. The time for a physician to interpret a CT scan for a stroke patient at Saint Mary’s is just 12 minutes, compared to the state average of 45 minutes. As with heart attack patients, time is a critical factor. “Time is brain. The important thing is to get the patient treated quickly,” Dr. Greco said.

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

About Saint Mary’s Health System:
Saint Mary’s Health System is a leading regional healthcare provider anchored by Saint Mary’s Hospital, an acute care community teaching hospital that has served Greater Waterbury for more than 100 years. Licensed for 347 beds, Saint Mary’s is designated as a Level II Trauma Center and Primary Stroke Center, offers award-winning cardiac care and houses the region’s only pediatric emergency care unit. As the leading provider of surgical services in Greater Waterbury, Saint Mary’s was the first to introduce the daVinci® Robotic Surgery System. The health system’s satellites and affiliates extend from Waterbury to Wolcott, Naugatuck, Southbury, Prospect and Watertown. 

About Get With The Guidelines:
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit

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