Get With The Guidelines Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

Penn Highlands DuBois’ commitment to quality stroke care, again, for 2019!

Penn Highlands DuBois as received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, again! The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. This is the third time PH DuBois received the gold, and the fourth year in a row to earn top honors.

Penn Highlands DuBois has received the Silver Plus or Gold Plus Award, including the Target Stroke Elite Award, for the past four years.

PH DuBois earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of maximizing recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“PH DuBois is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said John Sutika, President of PH DuBois. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

Additionally, PH DuBois received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster drug Alteplase, a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize Penn Highlands DuBois for its commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, National Chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee, and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

“It is because of team work that we are being recognized,” Jolene A. Barbazzeni, BSN, SCRN, RN, Stroke Coordinator/Telemedicine, Penn Highlands Healthcare and PH DuBois Primary Stroke Center, said. “Time is brain, and every step coming together for our patients is important – from the time 9-1-1 is called and emergency medical services crews arrive with the patient at the Emergency Department and beyond; working together as on team is crucial. We couldn’t be as successful as we are without everyone consistently receiving ongoing training and education, along with dedication to following science-tested protocols.”

At Penn Highlands Healthcare, all hospitals follow the same stroke protocols and work flow. Penn Highlands Brookville, Penn Highlands Clearfield and Penn Highlands Elk are all currently working to be certified as Acute Stroke Ready as recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Why is this important? According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit

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