ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Albemarle County is the first hospital in America to receive a Primary Plus Stroke Certification.

The recognition from DNV GL-Healthcare shows the hospital has the personnel, infrastructure, and expertise to diagnose, treat, and support stroke patients who require intensive specialized care.

Martha Jefferson was already a Primary Stroke Certified Center, but the hospital says the added ‘plus’ means a lot.

“This is another certification that shows that we also provide another service to remove clots through a procedure and that we do that well and we have good outcomes,” Melanie Winningham, the stroke program director at the hospital, said.

This advanced certification will now make Martha Jefferson a resource center where stroke patients from other hospitals in the region can be transported.

Sentara News Release:

Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has received DNV Primary Plus Stroke (PSC+) Certification from DNV GL-Healthcare, the first hospital in the nation to do so.

“We’ve been a Primary Stroke Certified Center for many years,” says Melanie Winningham, MD, medical director of the stroke program at Sentara Martha Jefferson. “The added plus (+) now recognizes Sentara Martha Jefferson’s ability to acutely treat large vessel ischemic strokes with a procedure called mechanical thrombectomy, as well as provide the necessary post-procedure care.”

Mechanical thrombectomy is a type of interventional treatment in which a neurointerventional radiologist mechanically extracts the blood clot that is blocking blood flow through large vessels that supply necessary oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The neurointerventional radiologist performs this intervention through a catheter, a thin, flexible tube inserted into the patient’s blood vessel, much like a heart catheterization procedure.

PSC+ Certification requirements are based on the most current recommendations from the Brain Attack Coalition (BAC), American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Conditions of Participation as well as the World Stroke Association.

A PSC+ center has the personnel, infrastructure, and expertise to diagnose, treat and support stroke patients who require intensive specialized medical and surgical care, specialized tests and interventional therapies. The intent of PSC+ is to be capable of providing initial diagnostic services, stabilization, emergent care, neurointerventional therapy, and post care to acute stroke patients.

PSC+ centers also can function as a resource center for other facilities in their region. For example, Sentara Martha Jefferson works collaboratively with Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg as a transfer center to receive patients deemed candidates for acute mechanical thrombectomy.

“This certification lets our community know Sentara Martha Jefferson has the resources and commitment to provide the best possible stroke care,” says Christi Hankle, MSN, RN, stroke program coordinator for Sentara Martha Jefferson. “It’s a verification that we have the right equipment, personnel and training to quickly assess and treat strokes. Achieving this certification validates all the effort we have put into our stroke care program to ensure the health and safety of our stroke patients.”