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JFK Designated as Primary Stroke Center

New distinction helps to save lives

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke and every 3.5 minutes, someone dies from it. Stroke now accounts for one of every 19 deaths in our country. 

And when someone has a stroke, seconds matter. That is why, over the past five years, JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio has been dedicated to the process of qualifying for the distinction of primary stroke center.

“Research shows that patients receiving care at a primary stroke center have a higher incident of survival and recovery than those treated in hospitals without this type of specialized care,” says CEO Gary Honts. “Certification demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest quality of health services.”

While the hospital has always treated walk-in strokes, the new designations received by both the joint commission and the County of Riverside allow them to accept patients through the county’s EMS system. When it comes to stroke, “time is brain,” adds Honts, “which is why I’m so proud that JFK Memorial Hospital can now bring this life-saving treatment to our community in the East Valley.” 

At the recent press conference announcing the honor, most who spoke shared a personal story of a loved one who came to JFK for a heart incident. “This does touch my heart,” said Josie Arechiga, from the state senate district office. “My mom just had her third stroke, so the East Valley truly appreciates this.”  

“I actually lost my father-in-law to a stroke after Christmas last year,” said Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez. “Had this [happened sooner], we wouldn’t have had to drive 20 [additional] minutes to get stroke care. I’m very thankful for JFK because the East Valley really deserves quality health care.” 

One of the key enhancements is the hospital’s new telemedicine program featuring state-of-the-art equipment with access to a neurologist 24/7. Emergency Room Medical Director Andrew Kassinove, MD, states, “We are a heart attack receiving center with a 24/7 coronary angiogram lab and now a primary stroke center with 24/7 access to specialists to evaluate and consult instantaneously.”  

Securing the designation was a team effort. Honts concludes, “I want to thank all of our physicians, our staff, and our community and government  leaders who continue to support JFK on our journey to save more lives.”

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