By Reann Huber staff writer
With its recent update of the Remote Evaluation for Acute Ischemic Stroke (REACH) system in October, Morgan Memorial Hospital is seeking certification to become a Remote Treatment Stroke Center. During last week’s hospital authority meeting, members of Morgan Memorial Hospital discussed the benefits of the REACH program and how it will affect those in the community, especially in towns farthest from MMH. With being an active participant in the REACH program, stroke patients in Morgan County and communities nearby have better access to stroke specialists. RN, Mickey Gallagher, discusses the importance of having better accessibility to these specialists. “Every time we talk about stroke, time is running,” Gallagher says.
“This process is good for the hospital… It gives the hospital access to a lot of resources we wouldn’t have ordinarily because we are such a small facility.” Gallagher pointed those towns that were the farthest from stroke centers, like Good Hope, Newborn, and Godfrey, as well as their distance to MMH to show how much time could be saved with having a stroke center at MMH. “Time is brain,” Gallagher says. “With being a stroke center it is going to give a sense of maybe a little more confidence in the community because if they’re having what they think is a stroke at home, they’ll be less hesitant to stay here than to just go and drive to Athens or to one of the bigger cities knowing we can handle this in our town.” MMH wants to improve stroke patient care for better outcomes, but to receive the certification it needs to become a Remote Treatment Stroke Center, MMH has to work together with others. Michelle Benton, Emergency Department Manager at MMH, says, “We have worked in collaboration with another department in our hospital, national EMS, and also other hospitals to complete one of the requirements of our certification. We are in the last phase of the process.”