Press Release

For Immediate Release
Nov 11, 2014
Contact : Donna Sellmann, Public Relations Manager  

Meridian Health Receives American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement Award

Award demonstrates commitment to quality care for stroke patients  

Neptune, NJ - Meridian Health has received the Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Awards from the American Heart Association for the stroke programs at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, and Riverview Medical Center. Additionally, Meridian’s Bayshore Community Hospital has received the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award.  The Get With The Guidelines award recognize the facilities’ commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted guidelines.

“Meridian Health is dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care and The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps us achieve that goal,” said Stephen Martino, M.D., medical director of Meridian’s Stroke Programs. “We’re extremely proud of our team. This award validates the exceptional work being done each day, and demonstrates our commitment to ensure that patients receive quality care based on internationally-respected clinical guidelines.”

Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, and Riverview Medical Center also received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for meeting stroke quality measures that reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the clot-buster  tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. People who suffer a stroke who receive the drug within three hours (or four and a half hours under certain more restrictive circumstances) of the onset of symptoms may recover quicker and are less likely to suffer severe disability.

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps Meridian’s team members develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes to improve patient care and outcomes. The program provides hospitals with a web-based patient management tool, best practice discharge protocols and standing orders, along with a robust registry and real-time benchmarking capabilities to track performance.

“Receiving the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke award reinforces the level excellence that is available through Meridian Neuroscience,” Says Dr. Martino. “Our commitment to provide exceptional resources is demonstrated by Meridian being home to five nationally accredited Primary Stroke Centers with specialized teams of stroke experts prepared to stop the advance of a stroke.” Meridian’s stroke centers are located at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital. Additionally, the Meridian Transfer Center connects patients to the region's only Stroke Rescue Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where nationally renowned neurosurgeons perform groundbreaking stroke rescue procedures.

“We are pleased to recognize Meridian Health for their commitment and dedication to stroke care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and Executive Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce patients’ length of stays and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparity gaps in care.”

Following Get With The Guidelines-Stroke treatment guidelines, patients are started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies including the use of medications such as tPA, antithrombotics and anticoagulation therapy, along with cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation counseling. These are all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients. Hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period of time to be eligible for the achievement awards.
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States.  On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

About Meridian Health
Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization in New Jersey, comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, and Meridian Partner Companies that include home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, and outpatient centers. Meridian Health has consistently been rated among the top performing health systems in New Jersey for clinical quality, is one of the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For”, and is the recipient of numerous state and national recognitions for patient care and nursing excellence.  For more information, please 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 empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations.  For more information, visit