Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville receives highest stroke center designation from The Joint Commission

Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville 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.

The designation is the highest achievable designation for centers providing care to patients suffering aneurysm (ruptured or unruptured), ischemic strokes and all types of intracranial/intracerebral hemorrhages.

With this certification, Baptist Jacksonville joins an elite group of health care facilities 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 team members with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.

Baptist Jacksonville underwent a rigorous onsite review by The Joint Commission experts who evaluated its compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements.

“By achieving this advanced certification, Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” says Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Baptist Jacksonville for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

Neurovascular surgeon Ricardo A. Hanel, MD, PhD, director of the Baptist Neurological Institute, describes the advanced certification as a landmark achievement for Baptist Health. “The Joint Commission certification is a national recognition of the quality of work that is performed daily by the stroke team here at Baptist. Our goal is to bring the best stroke care in the country to Jacksonville and our region via excellent patient care, research and education.”

Wendy Camp, director of the Stroke & Cerebrovascular Program at Baptist Health, said meeting the certification and caring for patients requires a coordinated effort of nearly every department in the health system along with its partners, and a dedicated transfer center that arranges for emergent air and ground transportation for patients throughout the southeastern Georgia and northeast Florida region.

During the on-site survey for certification, Camp said the reviewers examined all aspects of patient care, including protocols and procedures surrounding a system-inclusive response to neurological emergencies. This included examining Baptist’s relationships with EMS providers, nursing and physician providers at transferring hospitals, as well as internal processes related to rapid diagnosis and treatment. Nursing practices during the hyper-acute, critical and recovery phases were thoroughly reviewed.  How Baptist cares for patients after admission and after discharge, were also examined, as were rehabilitation services, both in-house and in the community.

Baptist Health is unique in having a team of providers specifically dedicated to treating patients with neurovascular issues, including two neurovascular surgeons and a neurointerventionalist; two neuroendovascular fellows; four neuroendovascular advanced practice providers and clinical support staff.

There are also stroke coordinators and a dedicated team of neurologists. Baptist has a neurocritical care unit to care for patients who experienced a stroke, aneurysm or other cerebrovascular conditions with highly trained neuro critical care physicians, advanced practice providers and nurses..

Baptist has been at the forefront of new treatments for the brain with more than 20 clinical trials, giving patients first-hand access to the latest technology.

All Baptist nurses and team members are trained in stroke symptom recognition and activation of emergency response teams in the event a patient admitted for any reason, in any part of our health system, experiences a neurological emergency.

“Getting comprehensive stroke certification by The Joint Commission validates the efforts of Baptist Health in providing the best care,” said neurosurgeon Eric Sauvageau, MD, director of the Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center at Baptist Jacksonville. “We can’t prevent all strokes, but we can make sure the health system and its physicians put all their efforts into offering the best chance of recovery.”

Added Nima Amin Aghaebrahim, MD, an interventional neurologist at Baptist Jacksonville’s Lyerly Neurosurgery: “We’ve entered a new era in the treatment of acute stroke through recent breakthrough advances in this field. To provide the best possible outcome for our patients, different specialties need to work together to deliver fast, effective and comprehensive care.

“This nationally recognized certification demonstrates that we are committed to the highest standards of care for our patients. We are proud to be a part of a select group of hospitals in the United States to achieve this level of stroke care.”

According to Michael Mayo, FACHE, hospital president of Baptist Jacksonville, “This certification is much more than a simple process of meeting standards. It’s the recognition of the quality of the processes, physicians and team members that render stroke care to the people of our community. It signifies to all that we meet the stringent criteria to ensure the highest quality of care is being administered to our patients and that Baptist is a trusted provider of stroke care.”

“The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association congratulates Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville on achieving Comprehensive Stroke Center certification,” added 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.”

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’s “Recommendations for Comprehensive Stroke Centers” (Stroke, 2005), 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 No. 5 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.

About Baptist Health

Baptist Health is a faith-based, mission-driven system in Northeast Florida comprised of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville; Baptist Medical Center Beaches; Baptist Medical Center Nassau; Baptist Medical Center South; Baptist Clay Medical Campus and Wolfson Children’s Hospital  – the region’s only children’s hospital.  All Baptist Health hospitals, along with Baptist Home Health Care, have achieved Magnet™ status for excellence in patient care. Baptist Health is part of Coastal Community Health, a regional affiliation between Baptist Health, Flagler Hospital and Southeast Georgia Health System forming a highly integrated hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. Baptist Health has the area’s only dedicated heart hospital; orthopedic institute; women’s services; neurological institute, including comprehensive neurosurgical services, a comprehensive stroke center and three primary stroke centers; a Bariatric Center of Excellence; a full range of psychology and psychiatry services; urgent care services; and primary and specialty care physicians’ offices throughout Northeast Florida. The Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center is a regional destination for multidisciplinary cancer care which is clinically integrated with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the internationally renowned cancer treatment and research institution in Houston. For more details, visit

The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The familiar Heart-Check mark now helps consumers evaluate their choices in hospital care. Each mark given to a hospital is earned by meeting specific standards for the care of patients with heart disease and/or stroke. The Heart-Check mark can only be displayed by hospitals that have achieved and defined requirements set by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. For more information on the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Hospital Accreditation Program visit

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