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VA Puget Sound receives American Heart Association’s quality achievement award


August 25, 2020

Seattle , WA — VA Puget Sound Health Care System earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Target: Stroke Gold Plus and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll quality achievement awards.

These awards recognize its commitment and success in implementing a high standard of stroke care by ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to the latest nationally recognized, evidence-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

“American Heart Association recognition underscores our commitment to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients,” said Maria Kimmerle, VA Puget Sound neurology and stroke coordinator. “What really excites us is seeing how we’re positively affecting the lives of those entrusted to us for care.”

VA Puget Sound earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“We are pleased to again recognize VA Puget Sound Health Care System for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Last year, VA Puget Sound earned American Heart Association and American Stroke Association 2019 Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, the 2019 Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke Bronze Quality Achievement Award, also qualified for recognition on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll.

About VA Puget Sound Health Care System:

VA Puget Sound provides comprehensive care to more than 112,000 Veterans enrolled at one of its ten facilities in the Pacific Northwest (two divisions in Seattle and Tacoma; seven Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Bellevue, Chehalis, Federal Way, Mount Vernon, Port Angeles, North Seattle, Silverdale and South Sound; and the Community Resource and Referral Center). As the VA’s 5th largest research program, VA Puget Sound has research in virtually every major clinical department, including: TBI and multiple blast exposures; memory improvement and Alzheimer's Disease; PTSD and deployment health; Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes; cancer; substance abuse; lower limb prosthetics; genomics; and Health Services. Additionally, it has seven nationally recognized Centers of Excellence (in areas from limb-loss prevention and prosthetic engineering to primary care education and substance abuse treatment). 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 since 2001. For more information, visit

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