(HARTFORD, Conn., July 6, 2010) – The Stroke Center at Saint Francis has earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers. Saint Francis earned this distinction after The Joint Commission conducted an unannounced on-site review in March.

“Saint Francis demonstrated that its stroke care program follows national standards and guidelines that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients,” said Jean E. Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., Executive Director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, The Joint Commission.

Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

“We’re proud to achieve this distinction, and more importantly have worked hard to maintain it since we were first certified in 2008,” said Phaniraj Iyengar, M.D., Medical Director of the Stroke Center at Saint Francis. “Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center certification recognizes Saint Francis’ commitment to providing outstanding care to our patients and our community.”

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements/guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program – the nation’s first – in 2003.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of healthcare accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in healthcare organizations. It evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States.

The Stroke Center at Saint Francis’ interdisciplinary program is comprised of leading healthcare professionals from various specialties including Neurology, Neurosurgery, Radiology, Cardiology, Vascular Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Physiatry and Rehabilitation Medicine from both Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital.

Founded in 1897, Saint Francis is a major teaching hospital licensed for 617 acute inpatient beds and 65 bassinets. It is the largest Catholic hospital in New England.