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News from Unity

Unity, Strong, and Rochester General Collaborate to Improve Stroke Care in the Community

The Greater Rochester Health Foundation awarded an $800,000 grant to Rochester’s three health systems who are collaborating to improve stroke care through creation of the Stroke Treatment Alliance of Rochester (STAR).

The initiative brings stroke teams from Unity, Highland, Rochester General, and Strong Memorial hospitals together to provide consistent and immediate care for a condition that requires fast action for long-term survival and meaningful quality of life.

The grant includes a consortium of vascular neurologists and neurosurgeons who provide around-the-clock emergency support and consultation for each hospital.

“The Foundation recognizes that stroke is a significant health issue for our community with nearly 2,500 people admitted to area hospitals each year for stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack sometimes referred to as a mini-stroke),” said John Urban, president and CEO of the Foundation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Rochester region has one of the highest stroke rates in New York, affecting 14 people per 1,000. In addition to improving care, the consortium will develop a broad, community education campaign about the risk factors and warning signs for strokes. Failure to recognize the symptoms often results in a delay in getting emergency care. Stroke care is needed immediately to improve the chances for survival and minimize the long-term effects.

Recent studies show that only 28 percent of all people who suffered a stroke were transported to a hospital within an hour. Doctors encourage patients to get to the hospital quickly to receive essential treatment with a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), within four hours of the onset of symptoms. That means that more than 70 percent of people were not able to receive optimal care.

"We've been working hard to pull all of this together over the last several months and we're thrilled to be a part of this valuable collaboration," said Mary Dombovy, M.D., vice president of Unity Neurosciences. "This initiative will improve stroke care in our community and provide better outcomes for our patients."

Through the collaborative effort, physicians estimate the program could save the community $1.6 million per year by improving care to allow more stroke patients to return home without additional medical services.

Follow this link to view the story. http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20120315/NEWS01/303150035/stroke-grant-health-foundation