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Palmetto Health Richland Awarded Primary Stroke Center Certification from The Joint Commission
Certification, first and only in the Midlands, directly impacts patients with Passage of Stroke Legislation

The Joint Commission has certified Palmetto Health Richland as a primary stroke center—the first and only hospital in the Midlands to receive this recognition. The certification is The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™. As a Primary Stroke Center, the hospital has the resources to rapidly identify and treat stroke victims arriving at their facility at a moment’s notice. Palmetto Health Richland will work closely with emergency medical service providers to fast-track patients to the hospital and assess and treat them with nationally developed protocols that greatly diminish the chances of disability and death after a stroke.

The certification is significant on the heels of yesterday’s passage of the Stroke Systems of Care Act of 2011. ( This law helps remove barriers to optimal stroke care for the citizens of S.C. The legislation will require emergency medical service personnel to transport stroke patients to the nearest hospital that is acute stroke capable. Palmetto Health’s designation by The Joint Commission exceeds those requirements.

Palmetto Health Richland received the certification after undergoing an on-site evaluation and demonstrating compliance with nationally developed standards for stroke care. “In stroke care, time is brain,” said Jean E. Range, executive director of Disease-Specific Care Certification of The Joint Commission. “By achieving certification as a Primary Stroke Center, Palmetto Health Richland has proven that it has the ability to provide effective, timely care to stroke victims that is required to improve outcomes for stroke patients.”

Palmetto Health’s stroke-related initiatives are led by nationally respected stroke neurologist Dr. Souvik Sen. He also is the chair of the Department of Neurology at University of South Carolina School of Medicine and an endowed stroke chair for the Center of Economic Excellence for South Carolina. Sen believes this program not only can save lives, but also can help reduce disabilities when patients receive appropriate and timely care. Sen said, “Stroke research has put us on the cutting edge of stroke treatment. At Palmetto Health Richland, there are new medications being tested in clinical trials that offer promise in treating stroke patients several hours after the onset of symptoms, lengthening the window of time for effective treatment. And new treatments are emerging for patients who have suffered “mini strokes” which often are pre-cursors to full strokes.”

Palmetto Health Richland has a process in place to urgently identify and treat stroke victims arriving at its facility. By alerting the Brain Attack Team, the wheels are set in motion to optimize quick treatment of stroke patients. With neurologists available 24/7, along with CT and MRI, the appropriate diagnosis can be made, and treatment can be quickly initiated. The clot busting drug, tPA, can be administered, giving patients much better odds not only of survival, but also of reduced disability. Patients who do not qualify for tPA have the resource of interventional radiologists who have several options available to retrieve the clot from the blood vessel in the brain. The stroke center on the Richland campus uses a multidisciplinary clinical approach to provide comprehensive stroke care from presentation of stroke symptoms through recovery.

Palmetto Health wants to remind the community of the American Stroke Association’s warning signs that appear suddenly. If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, do not wait. Call 911 immediately.
•Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
•Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
•Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
•Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
•Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements and guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program—the nation’s first—in 2003. A list of programs certified by The Joint Commission is available at

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About Palmetto Health
Palmetto Health is the region’s most integrated health system in which a progressive environment, the latest technology, including research and treatment protocols, goes hand-in-hand with quality patient care. Palmetto Health is composed of four outstanding hospitals—Palmetto Health Baptist, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, Palmetto Health Heart Hospital, Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia, SC—and serves as the primary teaching hospital for the University of South Carolina. Palmetto Health’s hospitals are highly respected, long-time community members. Each year, they treat nearly a half million patients, welcome more than 6,000 babies into the world, treat more than 80,000 pediatric patients, 3,000 cancer patients, accommodate 160,000 Emergency department visits and make nearly 50,000 home care visits. Employing more than 9,000, Palmetto Health is one of the state’s largest non-governmental employers.

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