Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital


HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital in Highland is pleased to be one of the very few hospitals in the region with the state-awarded Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital (ESRH) designation. The Illinois Department of Public Health makes these designations based on the hospital's ability to meet certain criteria aligning with nationally recognized, evidence-based standards, such as those from the American Heart/Stroke Association and Brain Attack Coalition.

Illinois was one of the first states in the nation to incorporate another level of stroke center into its law. ESRHs – hospitals that diagnose, treat and transport acute stroke patients to a higher level of care as warranted – must annually attest their continued compliance with criteria outlined in the statute and the regulation to the IDPH.

What does the ESRH designation mean for me?
The ESRH designation recognizes the importance St. Joseph's Hospital plays in delivering specialized acute health care to this community... and to you. To receive the state's designation, we must meet specific criteria.

What criteria must be met to receive the ESRH designation?
The ESRH designation is granted when the hospital has proven ability to:

  • Designate a director of stroke care, which may be a clinical member of the hospital staff or the designee of the hospital administrator, to oversee the hospital's stroke care policies, protocols or procedures (SJH’s stroke care leader is Dr. Ryan Johnson, a member of the SJH medical staff and an emergency department physician)
  • Administer thrombolytic therapy or subsequently developed medical therapies that meet nationally recognized evidence-based stroke protocols or guidelines
  • Conduct brain image tests at all times, which shall consider and reflect current nationally recognized evidence-based protocols or guidelines
  • Conduct blood coagulation (i.e. blood thinning) studies at all times, which shall consider and reflect current nationally recognized evidence-based protocols or guidelines
  • Maintain a log of acute stroke patients, which shall be available for review upon request by the Department or any hospital that has a written transfer agreement with the ESRH
  • Maintain written transfer agreements with one or more hospitals that have neurosurgical expertise – SJH has agreements with HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville and St. Louis University Hospital
  • Create written acute care policies, procedures or protocols related to emergent stroke care, including transfer criteria

In addition, ESRHs must collect and review acute stroke patient care data for quality improvement purposes and must complete an annual application process to maintain ESRH status.

If you have more questions about SJH’s Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital designation, call (618) 651-2840.