Back to articles

San Joaquin Community Hospital's Stroke Center Awarded National Certification

Awards & Recognition San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) has been recognized as the first nationally certified advanced stroke program in Kern County by The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers. SJCH earned this distinction after the Joint Commission conducted an on-site review in May 2008.

“We’re proud to take a leadership position in our community by being the first nationally certified advanced stroke center in our region. Not only are we the first in Kern County, but we’re the first in the entire Central Valley up to Sacramento,” said Robert J. Beehler, President and CEO of SJCH. “Joint Commission Advanced Primary Stroke Center Certification recognizes San Joaquin Community Hospital’s commitment to providing outstanding care to our patients and our community.”

“San Joaquin Community Hospital demonstrated that its stroke care program follows national standards and guidelines that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients,” says Jean E. Range, MS, RN, CPHQ, executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, Joint Commission.

“Our team of physicians and stroke specialists are dedicated to ensuring that the amount of time that passes between stroke and treatment is minimal. Our goal is to diagnose and treat a person showing symptoms of stroke within 60 minutes of arrival at San Joaquin Community Hospital,” said Beehler. “Regardless of how an acute stroke patient enters the hospital, our Stroke Alert Team is ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each member of the team is highly trained and performs a critical function, resulting in faster treatment times and, ultimately, better outcomes and less time in the hospital for our patients,” said Beehler.

To earn this distinction, SJCH’s Stroke Center underwent an extensive, on-site evaluation by a team of Joint Commission reviewers. The program was evaluated against Joint Commission standards through an assessment of the program’s processes, ability to evaluate and improve care within its own organization, and interviews with patients and staff.

“San Joaquin Community Hospital voluntarily pursued this comprehensive, independent evaluation to enhance the safety and quality of stroke care we provide,” said Michelle Goddard, RN, Stroke Program Coordinator at SJCH. “We’re proud to achieve this distinction.”

Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

“The goal of our certified Stroke Center is to improve patient outcomes through an organized system of care. This may sound like a simple task, but implementing a full service Stroke Center involves a high level of complexity in organizing standardized protocols, physician resources, nursing education and training, patient education and technological support. I am proud to say that we have achieved all of this and more,” said Goddard.

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements/guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program—the nation’s first—in 2003. A list of programs certified by the Joint Commission is available at