Getting the Right Care
North Carolina takes step towards comprehensive stroke system of care
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, affecting nearly 800,000 people each year. Timely access to lifesaving treatments and rehabilitation are critical to improve outcomes for patients.
Beginning this February, North Carolina will formally recognize all three levels of stroke care hospitals. The three tiers recognized by the state will include Acute Stroke Ready Centers, Primary Stroke Centers and Comprehensive Stroke Centers. This three-tiered system of designated stroke facilities in North Carolina is an essential component in building an efficient, integrated, statewide system of care in the treatment of stroke patients.
Additionally, North Carolina emergency medical services (EMS) providers will be required to update their stroke treatment and transport protocols to ensure that possible stroke patients are identified in the field and transported to certified hospitals accordingly.
As a result of these new regulations, patients who experience strokes anywhere in the state will receive the highest level of care available in their area, whether they are in downtown Raleigh, rural Johnston County, or on the side of a freeway anywhere in between.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association commends North Carolina for working to improve systems of care for stroke patients. The association’s staff and volunteers have been leading advocates for a stroke comprehensive system of care in North Carolina for many years.
"Six years ago, I lost my dear husband and our Insurance Commissioner Jim Long to a severe stroke. I know what it means to lose someone you love in such a sudden and tragic way, but we were fortunate because when Jim’s stroke occurred, we knew what to do and where to go. Everyone in our state needs to have this knowledge," said AHA/ASA volunteer Peg O’Connell. "It has been a journey in North Carolina to build strong stroke systems of care. Many people have come together to ensure that all North Carolinians, regardless of location can access quality acute stroke care and I was proud to be part of that effort. These rules are a critical part of our state’s stroke system of care and inform both EMS and the public where stroke centers are located in the state."
The recent regulations passed by the North Carolina Rules Review Commission make North Carolina the second state in the country to recognize all three tiers of stroke centers and the first state in the country to formally recognize the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a national accrediting body.
Learn more about comprehensive stroke systems of care and how you can become an advocate in your state at yourethecure.org.
Stroke Survivor Rick Dunlap tells how coordinated care and treatment made a difference for him. Video courtesy of Carolinas HealthCare System.