DeKalb Regional earns Primary Stroke Center accreditation

Pictured above: Chief Nursing Officer Angie Bennett, RN, MSN,; Chief Quality Officer Jason Rice, MHA, RRT; Dr. Paul Gilreath, Neurologist; Jesar Quizon, RN;  Director of ICU Jessica Honea, RN; Director of Medical/Surgical Unit Natalie Shoemaker, RN;  Director of Emergency Department Jeremy Glassco, RN, BSN; Chest Pain/Stroke/Education Coordinator Amy St. Clair, RN, BSN; Imaging Services Director Gaye Roberts.

DeKalb Regional Medical Center was awarded the Gold Seal of Approval for stroke care by The Joint Commission (TJC). The advanced certification as a Primary Stroke Center from The Joint Commission recognizes the hospital’s commitment to the highest standards in the country for stroke care.

Each year in the United States, about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke – one every 40 seconds. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today. Stroke is the Nation’s 4th leading cause of death.

The Joint Commission has established stringent operating standards for health care facilities related to care of stroke patients, including meeting best practices for patient evaluation and treatment and for program design. Achieving and maintaining prestigious TJC disease-specific certification in stroke care is a rigorous process, which requires strong commitment and teamwork across disciplines, including Physicians, EMS personnel, Nurses and Therapists.

“The Joint Commission seal of approval is the gold standard of health care quality,” said Patrick Trammell, CEO. “Primary Stroke Center certification is challenging to achieve and maintain and many hospitals do not pursue it. I am proud to work with a group of caregivers willing to work tirelessly toward meeting this high standard for our community. As a TJC Primary Stroke Center, we can confidently say we are one of the best hospitals in the country for stroke care.”

DeKalb Regional received an onsite survey from TJC in August 2019, in which an external surveyor evaluated DeKalb Regional for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of stroke patients, including infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management.

Hospitals that are accredited by TJC have improved consistency in patient care, receive regular performance evaluations, and have a culture of excellence across the organization. Hospital staff members develop new clinical skills and knowledge through the certification process. Certification standards provide a framework for hospital specialty areas, such as specific disease management programs.

“DeKalb Regional is committed to making our stroke care program the best it can be, which requires partnering with physicians and diverse teams of caregivers for ongoing improvements in quality and clinical practices, as well as investing the latest tools, techniques and innovations,” continued Trammell.

“At DeKalb Regional, patients can be confident that the hospital meets certain standards regarding diagnosis, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation to ultimately reduce the time between stroke onset and treatment,” said Paul Gilreath, M.D., Neurologist at the facility. “Part of what distinguishes our Primary Stroke Center is our advanced diagnostic capabilities and treatments for strokes.”

Mrs. Dana Greeson recently shared an account of her experience with the stroke program at DRMC. Upon experiencing stroke like symptoms, she was transported to the facility in Fort Payne, where she was emergently evaluated by on-site physicians and quickly received medical therapies to address her symptoms. “I thank God for DRMC; I know the fast treatment by the emergency room staff saved me from having permanent damage to my speech and my right side. Small town hospitals provide an invaluable service to their community, especially when time is of the essence.”

According to the American Stroke Association, warning signs of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; unexpected trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and sudden, severe headache with no known cause. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 and get to an Emergency Room immediately.

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification program was developed in collaboration with the American Stroke Association. The certification is based on the recommendations and guidelines for primary stroke care centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association.

To learn more about DeKalb Regional’s Stroke Center and early identification, please visit

About DeKalb Regional Medical Center

DeKalb Regional Medical Center is a 134-bed, full-service hospital facility, accredited by the Joint Commission and serving residents of DeKalb County and the surrounding areas. The hospital offers a full range of quality health services including 24-hour emergency care, impatient medical and surgical services, intensive care, cardiac catheterization, and outpatient services, including diagnostic imaging, medical treatments and outpatient surgery. The Kelly Owen Women & Children's pavilion provides high-quality maternity and pediatric care for local families. The hospital campus is located just off I-59 in Fort Payne, AL, near beautiful DeSoto State Park and Little River Canyon. To learn more, visit our website at

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