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Bitterroot Health Receives Stroke Recognition Award

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Bitterroot Health (BH) was recognized with the Stroke Recognition Award at the Montana Hospital Association’s annual meeting last month. The Stroke Recognition Award is sponsored by the Cardiovascular Health Program within the state health department. The Recognition Award singles out Critical Access Hospitals that demonstrate that they have the infrastructure and commitment to provide high-quality care for patients with acute stroke.

Receiving the Stroke Recognition confirms that BH meets high standards related to the utilization of evidence-based stroke order sets and protocols, laboratory and radiology services available 24/7, and administrative commitment to treating acute stroke patients.

“We are so excited to be recognized by the stroke recognition program for the quality and immediate care by Emergency clinicians at Bitterroot Health, recognizing both EMS and ER staff. We’ve worked hard to maintain and improve stroke care in the Valley, so being recognized for providing the highest quality acute care as a critical care team is something I’m proud to be a part of,” BH Director of ER and ICU, Thomas Price, said.

The Stroke Recognition Award was launched in 2011, and BH is one of only 19 Critical Access Hospitals in Montana to receive the recognition. Requirements for the recognition include tracking and reporting key stroke outcomes, using outcomes data to initiate quality improvement activities, and coordinating regular healthcare provider stroke training.

Price credits BH Critical Care Coordinator, Heather Villarreal, with highlighting this important work at BH. “Heather has been an integral part of our Stroke Initiative, developing stroke information and education for our community. As an ER charge nurse, she’s part of providing stroke care, and has gone above and beyond to grow our stroke program, making this work happen,” said Price.

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and is a leading cause of death in Montana. Last year, over 2,000 Montana families were directly impacted by the devastating effects of stroke. Symptom recognition and timely, high-quality treatment are important factors in reducing death and disability from stroke.

Know the signs and symptoms of stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face arm or leg
  • Sudden trouble seeing
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Know what to do if you or someone you know experience stroke symptoms:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately

Learn more about the BH Stroke Rehabilitation program HERE.

For more information about stroke, please visit: