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Northeast Georgia Medical Center Receives Two Awards for Stroke Care

Published on March 30, 2012

Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) recently received two awards for stroke care: the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and the 2012 “Star Award” from the Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry (GCASR).

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award recognizes NGMC’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award demonstrates our commitment to providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” said LaRoy Penix, MD, a neurologist with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group and NGMC’s stroke medical director.  “Northeast Georgia Medical Center has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.  This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.”        
To receive the award, NGMC achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. 

These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“Northeast Georgia Medical Center is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.  “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

“Northeast Georgia Medical Center has a continual focus on improving the quality of care for stroke patients,” says Dr. Penix.  “Because the number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population, our focus is more important than ever.”

Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry’s (GCASR) “Star Awards”
recognize both an individual and a hospital for their leadership in the GCASR.  NGMC received the 2012 “Star Award” for the hospital category through nominations from fellow GCASR colleagues.

“We want to recognize individuals and facilities such Northeast Georgia Medical Center that have changed and continue to change stroke care in the state of Georgia,” says James Lugtu, Director of Quality Improvement for the GCASR.  “This award demonstrates appreciation for the mentoring, support and passion that our Coverdell hospitals and staff provide to the registry and to their fellow member hospitals throughout the state.”

“We are honored to receive these two awards from the American Heart/Stroke Association and the Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry,” says Dr. Penix.  “I commend each and every member of our Clinical Stroke Team for their hard work and dedicated effort to improving the quality of stroke care.  They are truly the reason we are deserving of such awards.”

NGMC is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by DNV Healthcare.  For more information about NGMC’s stroke program, visit or call 770-219-3840
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