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Crozer-Chester Medical Center Achieves Highest Possible Level of Stroke Care Certification in Partnership with Global Neurosciences Institute

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Crozer Health’s Crozer-Chester Medical Center became certified by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. This is the highest possible stroke certification, issued to fewer than 200 hospitals across the country, and Crozer-Chester Medical Center is the first Comprehensive Stroke Center in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

The Global Neurosciences Institute (GNI) at Crozer Neurosciences Center of Excellence, created in 2017 by combining the high acuity capabilities of Delaware County’s Crozer Health with the clinical expertise of GNI, has been recognized for a number of milestones since its inception. GNI’s team of vascular, comprehensive neurosurgeons performed the first minimally invasive blood clot removal procedure (thrombectomy) within Delaware County on a stroke patient utilizing Crozer Health’s advanced Hybrid Operating Room capabilities.  The first Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery for Parkinson’s Disease was another first in the region performed by GNI at Crozer Health. GNI at Crozer implemented the Philadelphia region’s first and only Neurologic Emergency Department where EMS squads from throughout the region can bring patients having emergent brain-related conditions to a team of specially trained ED physicians who stand ready to immediately treat these patients in a dedicated ED. Particularly with stroke patients, EMS squads can call ahead and alert this team so the time to treatment is dramatically compressed.  GNI at Crozer also created a dedicated neurologic ICU supported by a multidisciplinary team consisting of neurologic pharmacy specialists and a 24/7 team of neuro critical care-trained Physician Assistants under the direction of fellowship trained comprehensive vascular neurosurgeons.  

“This was the next natural step for GNI at Crozer,” said Erol Veznedaroglu, M.D., FACS, FAANS, FAHA, President and CEO of GNI. “Putting together the pieces that result in a world class neurosciences center of excellence also made GNI at Crozer worthy of this certification. This provides patients having the most serious strokes in Delaware County - and well beyond the county’s borders - with the best level of care. While primary stroke centers have become the standard of care in most hospitals, it’s the comprehensive centers that are able to provide the most advanced level of care. We work closely with our network of primary stroke centers and EMS squads in the region to determine which patients should remain at their local community hospital versus being transferred for a higher level of care to our comprehensive Center. Most importantly, this leads to the best patient outcomes.”

This prestigious designation means GNI at Crozer has the infrastructure, team, training, and expertise required to treat the most complex stroke cases and is equipped to provide the highest quality stroke care designated by The Joint Commission. The certification recognizes a combination of advanced operating room technology, 24/7 availability of comprehensively trained neurosurgeons, and a specially trained stroke-focused team. These components allow for faster diagnosis and treatment, resulting in better patient outcomes and a lower risk of complications.

GNI at Crozer’s stroke program underwent a rigorous review, ensuring compliance with more than 40 related certification standards and 160 elements of performance,” said Mandy J. Binning, M.D., FAANS, GNI’s Chief of Vascular Neurosurgery and Medical Director of the Stroke Program at Crozer Health. “This included a review of our commitment to continuous quality improvement and patient safety. In fact, the Joint Commission’s surveyors commented that GNI at Crozer is a model program.”

According to The Joint Commission, there are over 110 primary stroke centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Only five comprehensively designated stroke centers in the Philadelphia region receive the most serious stroke patients transferred from primary stroke centers throughout the tri-state region. EMS squads are highly trained to make split-second decisions in the field deciding whether a patient requires the advanced capabilities only a designated Comprehensive Stroke Center can provide.

“Achieving Comprehensive Stroke Certification status is testimony to the commitment made by both Crozer Health and GNI,” said Peter Adamo, CEO at Crozer Health. “Combining the talents of these two organizations three years ago resulted in one of the most highly functioning neurosciences institutes in the region. I’m proud of this team, and I’ve witnessed excellent outcomes and quality of life for patients with the most serious strokes.”

In addition to Crozer Health’s recent achievement of the highest level of certification for stroke care, GNI at Crozer has been recognized for stroke-related accomplishments in national publications and meeting the American Heart Association’s hospital recognition criteria.  Suzanne Hefton, RN, Crozer Health’s stroke coordinator, explained that Crozer-Chester Medical Center earned both the “Get With The Guidelines® Gold Plus Achievement Award” and “Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus” last year.

GNI physicians led by Dr. Veznedaroglu were co-authors of the “Dawn Trial” published in The New England Journal of Medicine. This landmark study demonstrated value in performing clot removal or thrombectomy up to 24 hours from onset. This protocol extending the time window has been implemented within the Neurologic Emergency Department at Crozer Health, enabling more patients to receive this treatment option.

GNI at Crozer’s Comprehensive Stroke Center Physician Bios

Erol Veznedaroglu, M.D., FACS, FAANS, FAHA – Dr. “Vez” is a comprehensively trained vascular neurosurgeon. He is the President & CEO of Global Neurosciences Institute, Robert A. Groff Chair of Neurosurgery at Drexel University College of Medicine, and Director of Global Neurosciences Institute at Crozer. He is widely published and speaks regularly at international conferences, lecturing extensively on aneurysm, subarachnoid hemorrhage, stroke and intracranial vascular disorders.

Mandy J. Binning, M.D., FAANS – Dr. Binning is a highly experienced, fellowship-trained, comprehensive vascular neurosurgeon. She is the Chief of Vascular Neurosurgery and Director of Stroke Programs for Global Neurosciences Institute and is also an Associate Professor at Drexel University School of Medicine. Dr. Binning specializes in both minimally invasive, endovascular/cerebrovascular neurosurgery as well as open vascular microsurgery, making her one of a select number of neurosurgeons in the country trained in both types of vascular neurosurgery. She is the Medical Director of GNI at Crozer’s stroke program.

Karen Greenberg, D.O., FACOEP – Dr. Greenberg is a board-certified emergency medicine physician specializing in the treatment of neurologic emergencies. She is Director of the Neurologic Emergency Department at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Dr. Greenberg has advanced the state of neurologic emergency treatment and has published research in both the American Journal of Emergency Medicine and Mathews Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Differences Between Primary Stroke Centers and Comprehensive Stroke Centers

Dr. Binning noted the differences between primary stroke centers and comprehensive stroke centers:

  • Primary stroke centers take care of some ischemic types of stroke, while comprehensive centers care for all types of stroke, including those needing emergent surgical intervention as well as hemorrhagic strokes which can be caused by conditions including ruptured brain aneurysms.
  • Comprehensive Stroke Centers commit to 24/7 access to minimally invasive interventional procedures to treat stroke.
  • Comprehensive Stroke Centers also commit to a dedicated neurologic ICU and onsite neurosurgical availability around the clock, to provide complex neurovascular procedures such as brain aneurysm clipping, vascular malformation surgery and carotid endarterectomy.