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Atlantic General Hospital Receives American Heart Association'S Get With The Guidelines - Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award

Award demonstrates Atlantic General’s commitment to quality care for stroke patients
Berlin, Md. – Atlantic General Hospital has received the Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The award recognizes Atlantic General’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted guidelines.

This marks the third year that Atlantic General has been recognized with a quality achievement award from the American Heart Association for stroke care.

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps Atlantic General’s staff continue to develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes to improve patient care and outcomes. The program provides hospitals with a web-based patient management tool, best practice discharge protocols and standing orders, along with a robust registry and real-time benchmarking capabilities to track performance.

The quick and efficient use of guideline procedures can improve the quality of care for stroke patients and may reduce disability and save lives.

“Recent studies show that patients treated in hospitals participating in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program receive a higher quality of care and may experience better outcomes,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., 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, Mass. “Atlantic General Hospital’s stroke team is to be commended for their commitment to improving the care of their patients.”

Following Get With The Guidelines-Stroke treatment guidelines, patients are started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies including the use of medications such as tPA, antithrombotics and anticoagulation therapy, along with cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation counseling. These are all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients. Hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period of time to be eligible for the achievement awards.

Atlantic General Hospital achieved the Silver Plus Award for maintaining their Silver Award performance level for at least twelve months with an additional 75 percent compliance with specific quality measures for those twelve months. Atlantic General. Hospital, in fact, demonstrated greater than 75 percent compliance with six performance measures, including providing stroke education 96% of the time and 100% compliance with administering tPA, a clot-busting drug, to patients within 4.5 hours of symptom onset.

“Atlantic General is dedicated to making our care for stroke patients among the best in the country. The American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program helps us to accomplish this goal,” said Colleen Wareing, vice president of patient care services. “This recognition demonstrates that we are on the right track and we’re very proud of our team.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term 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.

About the AGH Stroke Center
In 2007, Atlantic General became a primary stroke center for Worcester County and neighboring areas, designated for its ability to provide optimal care for patients who have suffered a stroke. The center has a designated staff and features a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. The staff is always prepared to provide brain imaging scans, and neurologists are on hand to conduct patient evaluations and use clot-busting medications when appropriate.

About Get With The Guidelines
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit

About Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md., combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services. It provides quality specialty care such as weight loss surgery, orthopedics, retina surgery, outpatient infusion for individuals with cancer or blood/autoimmune disorders, and a comprehensive women’s diagnostic center. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, care for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit