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Harrison receives Cardiac Level 1, Stroke Level 2 designations

Harrison Medical Center recently received a Cardiac Level 1 designation and a Stroke Level 2 designation within the new state of Washington Emergency Cardiac and Stroke System. The system, being launched in phases across the state, is modeled on the state’s trauma system and has the goal of reducing the time it takes for heart attack or stroke patients to get medical care.

“Each minute is critical to get the right treatment for stroke, heart attack and cardiac arrest,” said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “The new system speeds up access to life-saving treatment.”

The Department of Health is working with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to identify when each county is ready to use the new system. To be ready, hospitals that want to participate must be designated as stroke and/or cardiac centers, and EMS providers must be trained on new procedures for assessing, treating and determining the appropriate hospital for their patients. In the past year, 73 of 91 hospitals have been categorized as cardiac centers, stroke centers, or both. Many EMS providers have already been trained on the new procedures, and several counties are now up and running with the new system.

People get emergency care for heart problems and stroke in all counties now, but the new system will improve that care by sending them to the best facility for their condition, speeding up the process. Faster treatment can significantly reduce the risk of death and disability.

“The goal of the new system is to get the right patient to the right hospital in the right amount of time,” said Dr. Kathleen Jobe, University of Washington Medical Center’s Emergency Department and chair of the state’s Emergency Cardiac and Stroke Technical Advisory Committee. “We need a well-coordinated system to make that happen.”

Together, heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death in Washington. Fewer than 4 percent of people who suffer the most common kind of stroke get the best treatment for that type of stroke because they don’t get to a hospital that can treat them in time. Less than half of all people who have a heart attack receive the most effective heart attack treatment.

Last year, the state passed a law to create a formal cardiac and stroke system of care to improve the ability to get people to life-saving treatment in time, especially in rural areas.

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