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BUFFALO, NEW YORK; DECEMBER 16, 2008-On December 11, 2008, the State Hospital Review and Planning Council (SHRPC) of the New York State Department of Health (NYS-DOH) informed Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation officials that their application for ECMC to become a Designated Stroke Center was approved, pending a site review and some final steps in the process to be conducted by the NYS-DOH over the next few months. 

"Having co-authored a landmark paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1995 on a new and aggressive approach to acute stroke using the clot busting medication tPA, I am very pleased to see that the New York State Department of Health has adopted the recommendations from this important study," explained Michael A. Meyer, MD, Professor of Clinical Neurology and Nuclear Medicine, S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo; and Chief of Neurology and Stroke Services, ECMC.  "In so doing, the Department of Health is taking a strong role in developing a state wide program for acute stroke.  I am very pleased that they are advancing the application for ECMC to become a Designated Stroke Center.  As a 24/7 Adult Regional Trauma Center, ECMC has already been caring for many patients requiring stroke care." 

The decision to apply for the stroke center designation was to ECMC administrators and the "ECMC 24/7 Stroke Team" members a logical and necessary step since they consider ECMC to be highly qualified for this designation. 

ECMC officials emphasize the fact that ECMC and the Western New York community need not expend additional funds for the stroke center designation since ECMC already has the medical staff, radiological equipment, and surgical team to implement this program. 

With regard to staffing, the ECMC 24/7 Stroke Team is comprised of physicians from multiple specialties.  Qualified emergency department physicians, having received training and certification to perform the NIH Stroke Scale evaluations, are members of the acute stroke team.  Constant stroke patient medical coverage is provided by neurology residents and staff at ECMC.   Experienced Stroke Program Coordinator, Paula Quesinberry, RN, oversees patient care services and community education.  Furthermore, ECMC operates an out-patient neurology clinic for stroke related evaluations. 

The ECMC facility is already well equipped to provide stroke evaluation and care.  Immediately adjacent to the large 29-bed ECMC Emergency Department equipped for urgent care is a 64-slice digital imaging scanner for immediate CT angiography of the brain and neck vessels.  The unit is already in use for acute stroke evaluations with immediate availability to interactive 3D software for vessel reconstruction. 

In the application for the stroke designation, many projected benefits to patients receiving care at ECMC were outlined, including: improved efficiency of patient care; rapid evaluation and treatment of acute stroke patients leading to better outcomes; improved patient treatment times; improved patient outcomes due to appropriate protocols and guidelines; fewer stroke-related complications; decreased patient length of stay; higher patient survival rates; improved long-term outcomes; services to reduce patient disability; and increased patient satisfaction.  Additional cost savings to ECMC and the Western New York community will result from: reduced patient length of stay; and initiation of treatments for secondary prevention reducing risk of future hospital admissions.  Since Erie County has more stroke deaths than any other county in all of New York State, this program is very much needed in this region of the state. 

The ECMC Corporation includes an advanced academic medical center (ECMC) with 550 inpatient beds and 136 skilled-nursing-home beds, on- and off-campus health centers, over 40 outpatient specialty care clinics and the Erie County Home, a skilled nursing facility.  ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the State University of New York at Buffalo.  Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the University.  More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and customer service provided as a result of its Culture of Care.

NEWS CONTACT: Joe Cirillo at 716-898-4300 or jcirillo@ecmc.edu   

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