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VA Puget Sound receives Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for stroke care


September 10, 2021

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.

“We are pleased to 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.”

VA Puget Sound earned the Get With The Guidelines® Target: Stroke Gold Plus award by meeting specific quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). These evidence-based treatments aim at the goal of speeding recovery, reducing death and disability for stroke patients.  Before discharge, patients also receive education on managing their health, and get a Neurology follow-up visit scheduled for secondary prevention of stroke.

To qualify for the Target:Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll recognition, VA Puget Sound met quality measures developed with more than 90 percent of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.”

“VA Puget Sound Health Care System is honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our commitment to help our Veterans have the best possible chance of survival and quality of life after a stroke,” said Maria Kimmerle, VA Puget Sound neurology and stroke coordinator. “Get With The Guidelines-Stroke makes it easier for our teams to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis to improve outcomes for stroke patients.”  

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 U.S. 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. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability, and speeding recovery times.

Last year, VA Puget Sound earned American Heart Association and American Stroke Association 2020 Get With The Guidelines® Target: Stroke Gold Plus and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll quality achievement awards.

About VA Puget Sound Health Care System:

VA Puget Sound provides comprehensive care to more than 155,000 Veterans across the Pacific Northwest—approximately 110,000 are enrolled with a primary care team at one of its 10 care sites. 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 9 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit

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