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SEATTLE - (Nov. 30, 2009) - Virginia Mason Medical Center's Stroke Center has received the 2009 American Heart Association / American Stroke Association's "Get With The Guidelines" Gold-Plus Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes VM's commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

To receive the award, VM achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines Stroke Performance Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with at least six of 10 Get With The Guidelines Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. Those measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics and anticoagulation therapy, cholesterol-reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

"Virginia Mason is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients," said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "Their full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients."

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every three minutes, and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center

Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health-care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 480 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area; manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and chronic care management program for people living with HIV and AIDS; and operates Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying the Toyota Production System to health care to improve quality and patient safety. For more information, visit VirginiaMason.org.

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