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February 13, 2018

MMC first hospital in Maine to be certified as Comprehensive Stroke Center

About Maine Medical Center

Maine Medical Center, recognized as a "best regional hospital" by U.S. News and World Report for 2017-18, is the state's largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 8,700 people. As a nonprofit institution, it provides nearly 23% of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system.

Maine Medical Center became the first hospital in Maine to be certified by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, the highest level of stroke certification a hospital can receive.

Those certifications indicate that MMC has the infrastructure, staff and training standards to support state-of-the-art care for the most complex stroke cases, including advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized surgical and medical treatments for complex stroke cases and appropriate training of staff to ensure they can diagnose and treat complex stroke cases.

Why this matters

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.

"This certification recognizes the excellence our care team provides patients every day," Dr. Joel Botler, MMC's chief medical officer, said in a news release. "MMC is committed to continually living up to the Joint Commission's high standards."

Dr. Robert Ecker, director of endovascular and cerebrovascular neurosurgery at MMC, said the Portland hospital over the past decade has "put together a stroke team that can care for the sickest stroke patients in Maine and New Hampshire 24/7 on a level that is matched by a only a few hospitals in this country,"

Hospitals throughout the MaineHealth system also benefit from MMC's CSC certification, since patients treated in their local hospital's emergency department can be transferred to MMC for specialized care when needed.

"Having Joint Commission certification shows all the systems are in place to get patients the proper care in the highest quality manner," said Dr. Robert Stein, medical director for the Primary Stroke Center at Pen Bay Hospital in Rockport.

MMC underwent a rigorous onsite review in November 2017, when Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements.

"By achieving this advanced certification, Maine 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, president and CEO, The Joint Commission. "Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Maine Medical Center for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.

Established in 2012, Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals.

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