Providence’s Stroke Program Honored with Gold Achievement Award for 11 Consecutive Years

August 13, 2020 Providence News Team

Spokane, Wash. — For 11 consecutive years, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital was honored with American Heart Association / American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. This designation is the highest level of achievement for a program that serves more than three times the amount of people than any other health provider in the region.

Providence Holy Family Hospital received Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award.

“This recognizes our teams’ continued commitment to providing a higher standard of comprehensive, coordinated stroke care for our patients,” said Ken Isaacs, M.D., regional medical director of Providence Spokane Neuroscience Institute. “Being honored for our care and innovation --- from prevention and diagnosis through treatment and rehabilitation, is validation of our quality stroke care on national standards.”

Recognizing the hospital’s consistently reduced times between a stroke patient’s arrival and treatment, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center also received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Elite Plus award. The hospital has the lowest arrival-to-treatment times in the region and one of the lowest in the state of Washington, according to AHA data.  

“Our communities’ first responders and rural hospitals are the first link to treating our patients and identifying symptoms of stroke,” added Cynthia Murphy, M.D. and stroke program director. “We are fortunate to work with our health partners and reduce the effects of stroke.”


Code Stroke

“Code stroke” is an emergency protocol implemented at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital to provide all stroke patients with the care they need as quickly as possible. Sacred Heart’s stroke protocol is so successful, it’s used as an example for other hospitals.

Patients experience integrated, connected stroke care beginning with first responders and more than a dozen rural hospitals connected via telestroke to Providence neurologist. Every time a stroke is suspected, a paramedic or rural hospital provider initiates a “code stroke,” setting into motion a life-saving chain of events.  

  • In-house neurohospitalists provide 24/7 coverage in the emergency departments so that patients receive immediate consultation. 
  • 24/7 coverage for expedited CT and MRI scans ordered for acute stroke imaging.
  • Blood is drawn on scene or on arrival with key lab results expedited.
  • A clinical pharmacist, involved from the beginning of the process, prepares clot-busting medication, so the second a neurologist says to administer it, it is ready to deliver.
  • 24/7 neurologists, interventional radiologists, technicians, and nurses evaluate and retrieve clots lodged in arteries in the brain.


Treatment and Care Continues

  • Neurosurgeons, critical care physicians, and critical care nurses provide 24/7 intensive care for patients with brain hemorrhages.
  • Therapists and neuro-specialized nursing teams support in-hospital patient care and early rehabilitation.
  • Post-hospital rehabilitative care is provided based on the needs of the patient and may include inpatient rehabilitation at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute or care at skilled nursing facilities.
  • Stroke clinic assessment and follow up care is provided for patients with transient (or temporary) stroke symptoms, and patients with stroke who have discharged from the hospital.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. When treating a stroke, “time is brain,” which means the more immediate the treatment, the less damage to the brain from the stroke.


Spot signs of stroke

Use the letters in "F.A.S.T." to spot signs of stroke and know when to call 9-1-1.





Face Drooping

Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven or lopsided?

Arm Weakness

Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?


Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.

Time to Call 9-1-1

If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.


About Providence Spokane Neuroscience Institute

Providence Spokane Neuroscience Institute offers care across the neuroscience continuum of care including care in spine, stroke, epilepsy, deep brain stimulation for movement disorders, care for brain tumors, headaches, Multiple Sclerosis, pediatric neurology and neurosurgery, full-spectrum neuroendovascular procedures and more. The Institute has achieved advanced certifications in multiple clinical service areas, including Joint Commission Certification for Spinal Surgery and Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Center, Washington State Level I Stroke Center, and National Association of Epilepsy Centers Level 3 Epilepsy Center.  These advanced certifications demonstrate the Institute’s strong commitment to advancing clinical excellence. Board-certified neurologists, neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, neurointerventionalists, neuroradiologists, neurohospitalists and specially trained nurses and therapists provide expert stroke care. This concentration of resources and expertise illustrates why Sacred Heart is the region’s leader in stroke intervention and care. 

About Providence Health Care 

Providence Health Care is the eastern Washington service area of Providence Health & Services, a not-for-profit Catholic health care ministry committed to providing for the needs of the communities it serves – especially for those who are poor and vulnerable. In eastern Washington, the Providence Health Care network of services includes Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, and Providence Holy Family Hospital – all nationally recognized for quality care, as well as two critical access hospitals in Colville and Chewelah. It also includes a full continuum of services – Providence Medical Park in Spokane Valley (a comprehensive multi-specialty center), three urgent care centers, home health, assisted living, adult day health and skilled nursing care. Providence Medical Group of eastern Washington includes more than 850 physicians and advanced practitioners. Its medical staff includes primary care providers, surgical subspecialists and medical specialists. For more information, visit


About Get With The Guidelines®

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients. For more information, visit

About the Author

The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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