SBCH Awarded Advanced Stroke Certification


Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital announced that its Neuroscience Institute has earned an Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers from the Joint Commission (JC), a leading healthcare accreditation agency.


This certification makes Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital the only stroke-certified center on the Central Coast between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. The hospital joins the ranks of distinguished stroke centers at Cedars Sinai, UCLA, Stanford, and UCSF that also have earned this coveted certification.



The Joint Commission's Primary Stroke Center Certification program was developed in collaboration with the American Stroke Association and is based on the Brain Attack Coalition's "Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers."


The JC certification recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.  Achievement of certification signifies that the services provided by Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital meet national standards and have the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes.  It demonstrates that the quality care is effectively managed to meet the unique and specialized needs of stroke patients. 


The lengthy certification process started about four years ago, said Lorie Loomis, RN and clinical nurse manager of neuroscience at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The path to certification began with a combined multi-disciplinary vision that included the stroke neurologists, the nursing and quality departments, and significant support from hospital administration, she explained.


Stroke Facts

 •    Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke.  
 •    Stroke is the nation’s # 3 cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. (For Santa Barbara County, stroke ranks as the #2 leading cause of death, and #1 cause of disability.)  
 •    About 700,000 Americans will have a stroke this year and approximately 24 percent will die from it.  
 •    80 percent of strokes are preventable. Education is key to avoiding a stroke.  

Learn more . . .



Together, this team focused on the continuum of care for stroke patients – from outreach education, to emergency intervention, to the acute patient care stay, then onto rehabilitation and finally back to the community.


“The Advanced JC Stroke Certification is just one in a series of steps that Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is undertaking in its development of its Neuroscience Institute.  The institute will embody best practice, state of the art equipment, research and physician expertise in the pursuit of the highest patient outcomes possible for neuro patients,” said Gary Milgram, service line director for neuroscience at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.


In addition to its Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers distinction, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital also offers the only neuroendovascular surgeon and the only critical care neuro intensivist on the Central Coast.  These physicians work with a specialized medical team to offer the highest level of care and state-of-the-art technology. 


Stroke is the second leading cause of death in Santa Barbara County, according to Santa Barbara County Public Health statistics. Stroke is the number one leading cause of disability in the United States.


“Eighty percent of strokes are preventable,” said Zarith Alvarado, stroke coordinator at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. “Education is the key. People need to know their risk factors for stroke so they can do something about it.”


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August 2009