Published on June 14, 2011

Owensboro Health Awarded Certification from the Joint Commission

OWENSBORO, KY (June 14, 2011) — Owensboro Health has undergone an on-site evaluation from The Joint Commission, demonstrating compliance with nationally developed standards for stroke care and earned the commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for certification as a Primary Stroke Center.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports a 2.4 percent absolute reduction in mortality for patients who receive care for an acute ischemic stroke (a stroke caused by a blood clot) in primary stroke centers, compared to hospitals without the designation. Primary stroke centers employ thrombolytic therapy more frequently, an intravenous (IV) drug used to dissolve blood clots. Getting that quick treatment allows brain flow to resume, while delaying treatment increases chances that brain tissue will die.

“In stroke care time is brain,” says Joni Sims, director of medical-surgical nursing at Owensboro Health. “Patients who seek care quickly have greater chances of fully recovering from the results of the stroke (or reduce their risk of long-term debilitating effects due to stroke caused by blood clots).

“When a patient has a stroke-like symptom it is important to call 911 immediately so they can be expedited to the closest hospital emergency department where they can be evaluated for a possible stroke.” Sims says.  “The quick response increases a person’s chances of being a candidate for the clot-busting drug, which can only be given within three hours of initial stroke symptoms.”

Each year about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 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 from The Joint Commission,” Sims says. “We are pleased to have The Joint Commission recognize our commitment to providing the best possible 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 and guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program—the nation’s first—in 2003. A list of programs certified by The Joint Commission is available at

About 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 evaluates and accredits more than 18,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, not-for-profit 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

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital, the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 200 providers at more than 20 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a surgical weight loss center and program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have 16,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 24,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 200 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 70,000 Emergency Department visits, more than a million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.