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DHR Health recognized by the American Heart Association

Award demonstrates DHR Health’s commitment to quality care for stroke patients with some of the fastest door-to-treatment times in the nation.

Edinburg, TX— DHR Health has received the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite and Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll.  The award recognizes DHR Health’s commitment to ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate, timely treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines rooted in the latest scientific research.

“This recognition from the American Heart Association shows the dedication of our Level One Comprehensive Stroke Center,” said Manish Singh, M.D., Chief Executive Officer at DHR Health.  “As a leader in the region, DHR Health provides excellence in stroke care and follows the latest recommended guidelines for stroke treatment in order to improve patient outcomes.”

To receive the Gold Plus Achievement Award, DHR achieved higher than 85% adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two 12-month consecutive periods and achieved higher than 75% compliance with seven of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

“As the certified Joint Commission Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center in the RGV, DHR Health is best equipped to provide specialized care and better outcomes for patients with the most complicated strokes,” said Patrick Noonan, M.D., Comprehensive Stroke Medical Director at DHR Health.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the onset of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. DHR Health earned the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients—demonstrating some of the fastest door-to-treatment times in the nation.

The Get With The Guidelines-Stroke quality measures are designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“When treating a stroke, time lost is brain lost,” said Javier Cortinas, M.D., Executive Physician for Emergency Services at DHR Health.  “This national recognition reflects the dedication and team effort to provide high-quality, efficient care to evaluate and treat patients experiencing a stroke. Our Emergency Department is ready to evaluate and treat possible strokes 24/7, by consistently using a solid team approach supported by the most advanced technology.”

“We are pleased to recognize DHR Health for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

“We thank the people and the EMS services of the RGV for their essential role in receiving this award and for acting FASTly, which contributed to DHR Health earning the awards and certification,” states Noonan.  “Credit for these achievements is not DHR Health alone, whether delivery of tPA within treatment guidelines or provision of advanced stroke treatment, timeliness is the most important component of effective stroke treatment, and it can only be ensured by stroke victims, bystanders, and caregivers who promptly recognize the signs of a stroke and by EMS services who promptly deliver stroke victims to DHR Health.”

DHR Health additionally received the Association’s: Target: Type 2 Honor Roll™ award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90 % of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.”

For providers, Get With The Guidelines-Stroke offers quality improvement measures, discharge protocols, standing orders and other measurement tools. Providing hospitals with resources and information that make it easier to follow treatment guidelines can help save lives and ultimately reduce overall healthcare costs by lowering readmission rates for stroke patients. Through its participation, DHR Health has access to best practice strategies and successful efforts to improve acute stroke care, as well as access to world-class experts and a curriculum on timely and effective acute stroke care.

About Stroke Treatment and Prevention

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel is either blocked by a clot or bursts, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching part of the brain. Cells in the area begin to die and functions controlled by that part of the brain are lost. A stroke can affect your memory and emotions, as well as your ability to walk, talk, or understand.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. 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.  Moreover, heart disease and stroke are the number one cause of death among Hispanics and Latinos in the United States. Combined, heart disease and stroke account for more than 26.6% of Hispanic and Latino deaths each year.

Medical research and advances in treatment have greatly improved stroke patient survival rates. But, the chances of survival are even better if the stroke is identified and treated immediately. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and prevent death.

For patients, Get With The Guidelines-Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they learn how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital and recognize the F.A.S.T. warning signs of a stroke. F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke. If you notice these signs, call 9-1-1 for help right away:

F – Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

A – Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T – Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Beyond F.A.S.T., there are other symptoms you should know:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg, arm or face
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Knowing your risk factors is the first step in preventing a stroke. Stroke risk factors that you can control or treat include high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol as well as smoking, excessive alcohol, illegal drug use, physical inactivity, and obesity. If you have any of these health risks, talk to your doctor to develop and preventive plan that’s right for you. By having regular medical checkups and knowing your risk, you can focus on what you can change and lower your risk of stroke.

About Get With The Guidelines®

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 9 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit

About DHR Health

DHR Health was founded in 1997 to help over 1.2 million residents resolve limited health care access challenges in a community that lacked public and county hospitals. Today, it is a modern, 500+ bed full-service health system serving over 280,000 patients annually, with 5500+ employees, over 650 physicians and more than 1,400 nurses dedicated to offering a full-continuum of care in over 70 different specialties and subspecialties. DHR Health proudly boasts the best specialty care in the region, a 24/7 functioning level-one trauma center, a robust clinical research division, and developing graduate medical education programs. DHR Health has revolutionized the health care landscape of the Rio Grande Valley and continues to raise the standard of care and transform the health care delivery model for the benefit all local residents. To learn more, visit

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