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Joint Commission Awards Top Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification to Overlook Medical Center

March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015, Summit, NJ – Overlook Medical Center has been recognized by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as meeting The Joint Commission’s standards for Disease-Specific Care Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification, which means it is part of an elite group of providers focused on complex stroke care. Comprehensive Stroke Centers are recognized as industry leaders and are responsible for setting the national agenda in highly-specialized stroke care.

Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification recognizes those hospitals that have state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes. Overlook Medical Center underwent a rigorous onsite review in October 2014. Joint Commission experts reviewed Overlook Medical Center’s compliance with the Comprehensive Stroke Center standards and requirements including advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.

“This accomplishment represents the finest example to date of the commitment and dedication of the hundreds of individuals who make up this team, and of Atlantic Health System, to provide the very best of care to neuroscience patients,” said John Halperin, M.D., chair of neurosciences at Overlook Medical Center and medical director, Atlantic Neuroscience Institute, Atlantic Health System. “Overlook Medical Center has created a multidisciplinary center of excellence for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with the full range of neurologic disorders.”

In 2014, Overlook Medical Center endovascular surgeons treated 109 patients with subarachnoid hemorrhages (a bleeding in the space between the brain and the surrounding membrane); that is more than five times the Joint Commission’s minimum requirement of 20 cases per year.  Overlook Medical Center is the first in New Jersey to outfit its ambulance fleet with tele-stroke video cameras enabling hospital-based stroke teams to evaluate patients in transit.  The Overlook Medical Center stroke team exceeds the national standard of a 60-minute intravenous t-PA treatment time (defined as the time from when a patient arrives in the emergency department, is evaluated, and treated with a potentially lifesaving clot-busting medication) with 66% of patients treated with the clot-busting drug within 45 minutes, and the quickest time of 13 minutes.  For those patients where the blood clot in the brain is too large for medication to be effective, the endovascular surgical team offers high-tech interventions, such as stent retrievers, to mechanically remove the clots.

"By achieving this advanced certification, Overlook Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Overlook Medical Center for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

The Joint Commission certification is the most recent recognition in a prestigious list of accolades: Overlook Medical Center was the first hospital to receive Comprehensive Stroke Center designation from the state of New Jersey and its stroke program is a recipient of the Get With the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award, placing its stroke program in the top five percent in the country by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.  Overlook Medical Center is also recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Regional Hospital” for stroke and for Neurology & Neurosurgery, among other specialties.

“We are proud to have joined the ranks of other nationally recognized institutions with this certification,” said Robert Felberg, M.D. medical director, Comprehensive Stroke Center at Overlook Medical Center. 

Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification was developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and derived from the Brain Attack Coalition’s “Recommendations for Comprehensive Stroke Centers,” (Stroke, 2005), and “Metrics for Measuring Quality of Care in Comprehensive Stroke Centers,” (Stroke, 2011),and on recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care.

“The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association congratulates Overlook Medical Center on its Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification,” commented Mark J. Alberts, M.D., FAHA, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association spokesperson and incoming Vice-Chair of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Comprehensive Stroke Centers offer a high level of care for patients with the most severe and challenging types of strokes and cerebrovascular disease.”

“Overlook Medical Center is well known for providing exceptional neuroscience care,” said Alan Lieber, president, Overlook Medical Center. “I am extremely proud we have set the benchmark for improved outcomes and elevated the standard of stroke care for the communities we serve.”

Learn more for information on The Joint Commission and American Heart Association’s Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Center.

About The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 10,600 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,600 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also certifies more than 2,400 disease-specific care programs such as stroke, heart failure, joint replacement and stroke rehabilitation, and 400 health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more > about The Joint Commission.

About the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. It teams with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit the website or call any of its offices around the country.

The familiar Heart-Check mark now helps consumers evaluate their choices in hospital care. Each mark given to a hospital is earned by meeting specific standards for the care of patients with heart disease and/or stroke. The Heart-Check mark can only be displayed by hospitals that have achieved and defined requirements set by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Visit for more information on the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Hospital Accreditation Program.

About Overlook Medical Center

Overlook Medical Center, located in Summit, NJ, is part of Atlantic Health System, one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey that includes Chilton Medical Center, Goryeb Children’s Hospital, Morristown Medical Center, and Newton Medical Center. Accredited by The Joint Commission, Overlook Medical Center is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Regional Hospital” for Neurology & Neurosurgery, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, and Urology. Overlook Medical Center is certified as a Level IV Epilepsy Center and home to the Brain Tumor Center of New Jersey with the largest team of neuroscience specialists in New Jersey.