Research Medical Center—part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s leading healthcare and stroke care provider—today announced that it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval®and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval® and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.

With this certification, Research Medical Center joins an elite group of healthcare organizations focused on highly specialized stroke care. To be eligible, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center and meet additional requirements, including those related to advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and providing staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.

With this certification, Research Medical Center joins an elite group of healthcare organizations focused on highly specialized stroke care.

Research Medical Center underwent a rigorous onsite review when Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements.

"By achieving this advanced certification, Research Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president and Chief Executive Officer, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Research Medical Center for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

“The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association congratulates Research Medical Center on achieving Comprehensive Stroke Center certification,” says Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “Meeting the standards for Comprehensive Stroke Center certification represents a commitment to deliver high-quality care to all patients affected by stroke.”

“Research Medical Center is pleased to earn Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center designation,” says Jackie DeSouza-Van Blaricum, Chief Executive Officer, Research Medical Center. “Being part of a system of care for stroke patients by partnering with nearly two dozen regional hospitals and even more EMS professionals is how Research is able to achieve this designation. Healthcare professionals and patients trust HCA Midwest Health for stroke care, and Research for the most complex stroke care. Our patient outcomes data demonstrates Research Medical Center delivers highly advanced and efficient stroke care with low complication rates, compared to national benchmarks.

The certification validates our stroke care network’s culture of excellence and demonstrates Research Medical Center’s commitment to aggressive, multidisciplinary stroke interventions for the best possible patient outcomes.”

“This advanced certification means stroke patients at Research Medical Center are being diagnosed efficiently and treated quickly with the most effective clot-busting drug,” says Iftekhar Ahmed, M.D., Medical Director, Research Medical Center Stroke Care. “Quicker treatment offers patients a greater chance of brain preservation, which also means a patient has a better chance of recovery from stroke. In stroke care, lost time is lost brain.”

HCA Midwest Health and Research Medical Center and have immediate therapies for time-sensitive stroke care. Research Medical Center cares for ischemic stroke patients quickly and has a team of stroke clinicians 24/7 that focuses on immediate diagnosis and stroke reversal. Emergency Room physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, interventional radiologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and CT technicians at Research Medical Center partner with local hospitals and EMS to help provide fast and effective stroke care for patients.

Established in 2012, Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. The certification was derived from the Brain Attack Coalition, "Metrics for Measuring Quality of Care in Comprehensive Stroke Centers" (Stroke, 2011) and recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care.

Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Research Medical Center encourages people to become familiar with the symptoms of stroke (FAST) and if a stroke is suspected, call 9-1-1 immediately. For more information on stroke care at Research Medical Center, visit .