Advanced Primary Stroke Center designated in Valley by National Commission

Advanced Primary Stroke Center designated in Valley by National Commission
Valley Baptist Medical Center
Monday, June 9, 2014 - 8:36am

Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen has received “Advanced Certification” for stroke care from a national accrediting organization, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which is headquartered in Illinois.

Valley Baptist-Harlingen was re-certified for the “Gold Seal of Approval” distinction after the Joint Commission conducted an on-site review in May. Valley Baptist became the first “Primary Stroke Center” in South Texas in 2005, and became the first and only Valley hospital offering advanced endovascular stroke procedures in 2012.
According to the Joint Commission, the “Primary Stroke Center” certification signifies Valley Baptist’s “dedication to fostering better outcomes for patients” and demonstrates that Valley Baptist’s Stroke Program “meets critical elements of performance to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes for stroke patients.”

"In achieving Joint Commission advanced certification, Valley Baptist Medical Center has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its stroke patients,” said Jean Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., Executive Director for Disease-Specific Care Certification for The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Valley Baptist for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves.”

The Joint Commission's Primary Stroke Center Certification program is based on recommendations developed by a “Brain Attack Coalition”, in collaboration with the American Stroke Association.

The American Stroke Association and American Heart Association have also once again awarded Valley Baptist-Harlingen and Valley Baptist-Brownsville “Gold Plus” awards for care of stroke patients for 2014. The national awards program, Get With The Guidelines, is designed to help ensure that the care hospitals provide for stroke patients is aligned with the latest scientific guidelines.

Valley Baptist-Harlingen also received the “Target: Stroke Honor Roll” award from the American Heart Association for fast response in treating patients who come to the hospital with life-threatening symptoms of stroke. “Honor Roll” status is given to hospitals which consistently treat stroke patients with life-saving medications within an hour after the patient arrives at the hospital. When it comes to stroke, every minute counts, because “time lost is brain lost.”

Dr. Victoria A. Parada, Board-Certified Vascular Neurologist and Clinical Director of Neurosciences and the Stroke Program at Valley Baptist-Harlingen, said it’s critical for Valley residents to learn the warning signs of stroke -- and to call 911 immediately if they or their loved one experiences symptoms.
“Seventy percent of the stroke victims don’t reach the hospital within the first three hours after stroke symptoms begin because they lack awareness of the importance of prompt recognition and treatment of symptoms of stroke,” Dr. Parada said. “Every minute spent without treatment means more brain cells die.”
Dr. Parada stressed that Valley Baptist has “a committed stroke team willing to make every effort to help our patients to restore functioning and prevent disability.”

“The mission of the Valley Baptist Neuroscience Team is to improve the healthcare of the patients we serve through excellence in patient care, education and research,” she added.

Dr. Parada added that Valley Baptist-Harlingen is proud to have the first specialized and comprehensive stroke team in the area -- including the Valley’s only two fellowship-trained endovascular and neuro-critical care specialists (Dr. Ameer Hassan and Dr. Wondwossen Tekle); a neuro-hospitalist team (which includes Dr. Parada, Dr. Felix Rivera, and a nurse practitioner, Julio Olmeda); as well as Valley Baptist’s Stroke Coordinator, Erlinda Abantao, RN.

For more information about prevention and treatment for stroke, consult your physician and visit


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