2003-04-16 / Seniors

Stroke Ctrs Planned For 7 Queens Hospitals

Stroke centers, which give specialized treatment that may be critical to a stroke victim’s survival, are scheduled to be set up at seven Queens hospitals beginning May 5 under a new pilot program announced by Assemblymember Nettie Mayersohn of Flushing.

Each designated center will have qualified stroke teams led by medical directors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Mayersohn explained. Members of the teams will be at a patient’s bedside within 15 minutes of their being alerted to an acute stroke case, she added.

Mayersohn identified the hospital involved in the program as Elmhurst Hospital Center, New York Hospital Queens and Flushing, Jamaica, Queens, North Shore, and Long Island Jewish Hospitals.

These participating centers, the lawmaker said, will have the ability to perform brain imaging studies for patients with acute stroke in order to rapidly establish an accurate diagnosis.

"The centers are capable of performing and reporting laboratory studies, electrocardiograms and chest x-rays within 45 minutes of being ordered, she said.

Describing the pilot program as "a great step forward," Mayersohn stated, "There is no point in educating people about the signs of stroke and getting them to the hospital quickly if the hospital is not fully equipped to treat all stroke patients."

A task force to study stroke care was set up last year after Mayersohn proposed stroke centers to state Health Commissioner Antonia Novello. The task force, set up by the Health Department and IPRO, a quality improvement organization, was made up of experts in the field of strokes.

When the program is established, IPRO will conduct onsite visits, medical record reviews and data analysis of quality indicators established by the Health Department and the Stroke Demonstration Workshop, which is comprised of specialists in emergency medicine, neurology and cerebrovascular disease. Also included in the workshop group are the American Stroke Association, the Fire Department EMS Medical Director and Associate Commissioner, IPRO and the Department of Health executive staff.

IPRO will also work with the pilot facilities to ensure they maintain the standards and educational requirements of the Brain Attack Coalition guidelines.

Mayersohn (D–Flushing) thanked Governor George Pataki and Commissioner Novello for recognizing the importance of stroke centers and for working quickly to bring about the pilot program.—John Toscano

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