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The Joint Commission, the national health care accreditation and certification organization, has recertified the stroke care program at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital (MRH) as a Primary Stroke Center.

The Joint Commission recognizes programs that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes, and that provide quality of care to meet the unique and specialized needs of stroke patients. The MRH program received its original Primary Stroke Center designation in 2009, and additional recertifications in 2011, 2015 and 2018.

Moore Regional’s stroke care program averages between 40 and 50 patients each month.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of long-term disability. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, and the likelihood of disability caused by stroke can be reduced with quick treatment.

Moore Regional re-designated as Primary Stroke Center

Melanie Blacker, M.D.

“When it comes to stroke treatment, every minute counts,” said Melanie Blacker, M.D., the medical director of Moore Regional’s Stroke Service. “Early diagnosis and treatment help to prevent disability and additional complications. Our team keeps quick diagnosis a top priority and we remind our community to use BEFAST as a benchmark for seeking medical care.”

B – Balance (loss of balance, trouble walking)

E – Eyes (blurred vision or loss of vision)

F – Face (facial drooping)

A – Arms (numb or weak arms)

S – Speech (slurred speech)

T – Time to call 911

MRH underwent a rigorous review earlier this year, during which a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with related certification standards. These requirements cover three main areas: standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients.

In addition to EMS and discharge planning, areas that are typically involved in stroke care include the emergency department; lab; radiology; neurology; hospitalist program; nursing; speech, occupational and physical therapy; and home care.

FirstHealth’s neurohospitalists help manage the program and care for its patients. The team also includes stroke coordinator Barb McGrath, R.N. whose job involves educating nurses in the specifics of stroke care, as well as collecting and analyzing data with physicians and the stroke team. She said the Moore Regional stroke team has decreased the average door to CT start times by 42 percent over the past 12 months in patients that were eligible to receive IV thrombolytics.

“We congratulate FirstHealth of the Carolinas for this outstanding achievement,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Stroke Association. “This certification reflects its commitment to providing the highest quality of care for stroke patients.”

For more information on the stroke care services at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, visit


Courtesy photos/Contributed.

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