In 2010 Palm Drive Hospital was certified as a primary stroke center. In 2012 the Sebastopol hospital stroke center received a Superior Performance award from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, a national independent hospital accrediting organization recognized by the federal government.
This was the first and only hospital in California to achieve this distinguished ranking, and the only other hospital in the nation to be recognized, according to HFAP.
Opening the First ‘full service’ Neurological center in the North Bay
Dr. Allan Bernstein is Director of the North Bay Neuroscience Institute at Sonoma West Medical Center.
As a preeminent neurologist in the Bay Area for more than 30 years, and the creator of the Palm Drive Superior Performing Stroke Center, he is expanding the breadth and scope of the institute to handle more than just stroke patients. The Institute will treat all phases of brain related afflictions such as headaches, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other Neurologic conditions.
Time is Brain
Dr Bernstein’s term of use is ‘Time is Brain’. Previously at Palm Drive Hospital, a stroke patient would be examined, diagnosed and begin treatment within one hour of arriving at the emergency room. The best outcomes at academic medical centers are achieved if treatment is started in less than one hour, but up to three hours still gives improved outcomes.
Time is of the essence when someone is having a stroke because within five minutes you start to develop irreversible loss of brain tissue, and the loss expands exponentially with time.
Dr. Bernstein explains, “Most strokes are caused by blood clots that shut off the supply of blood to areas of the brain. Without blood, brain cells begin to die. Clot-busting drugs, which can save lives and prevent life-long disabilities, are not effective unless they are administered within a few hours of the first stroke symptoms”.
Accelerating Treatment with ‘No Wait’
Dr. Bernstein’s Neurology Institute is to be augmented by SWMC’s ground breaking ‘NO Wait’ ER. Every patient entering the front door will see a certified emergency physician within 5 minutes. Rapid diagnosis and fast-track stroke treatment is critical. The combination of ‘No Wait’ and stroke treatment excellence makes SWMC the ‘go to’ facility for the region.
Covering Stroke… Accepting Any Insurance
Most people do not realize that a stroke center is state and federally reimbursed ‘community service’ and unrelated to someone’s health insurance.
“If you are in West County, whether you have Kaiser insurance or not, you should come to SWMC. It is all about time…how fast can you come to the closest certified stroke center, see a certified Emergency physician and get into stroke treatment. You want the best care as fast as possible…every minute counts,” Dr. Bernstein said.
Advanced Research Institute
Dr. Bernstein has been a teaching professor at UCSF for 20 years. As part of his leadership in this field, he has been awarded many grants and FDA backing to further his research. He has a number of trials underway (through leading pharmaceutical companies) to develop precise drugs and treatment protocols to address a wide range of brain and memory disorders. Many of these trials are in Phase III and are showing great promise in not only slowing but also arresting further deterioration. Some new trials are beginning in 2015/2016 for the entire North Bay that will only be available out of the new Neurological Institute at SWMC.
It’s the People that Count
“There are a number of people who come in with a significant deficit — paralyzed, can’t talk, can’t see — and because the protocol runs so smoothly, they get the optimal evaluation and ‘potentially allowing for significant improvement in a brief period of time,” Bernstein said, noting that contrary to what some people think, a stroke center is not a building, but “a team of well-trained, dedicated people that appear out of nowhere when you need them.”
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of adult disability. Nationwide, each year about 795,000 people suffer a stroke, and more than 137,000 people die as a result, according to the American Stroke Association.