University Health System Receives American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Quality Achievement Award

September 12, 2012

Award demonstrates University Health System’s commitment to quality care for stroke patients

University Health System has received the Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The award recognizes University Health System’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 University Health System has been recognized with a quality achievement award.

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps University Health System’s staff 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." University Health System’s 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.

“University Health System is dedicated to providing the very highest level of care for stroke patients and the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines Stroke program helps us benchmark against many of the best hospitals in the nation,” said George B. Hernández, Jr., president/CEO, University Health System. “I am extremely proud of our team for achieving this Gold level recognition.”

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 University Health System

Owned by the taxpayers of Bexar County, University Health System is a nationally recognized academic medical center and network of outpatient health centers. University Health System is consistently recognized as a leader for going paperless with electronic medical records. It is the first public health system in Texas to be designated as Magnet Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. University Hospital, its 498-bed acute care hospital, was named Best Regional Hospital U.S. News & World Report in 2011-2012 and is one of just 15 Level I trauma centers in Texas. University Health System’s Community First Health Plans is the region’s only locally-owned, nonprofit HMO and San Antonio AirLIFE, jointly owned by University Health System, is a national leader in emergency air medical transport.

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