Why is immediate access to care important for stroke patients?


There is a short window of time when evaluation and treatment of a stroke is critical – this is when lives can be saved and brain function preserved. That's why it's important to know the symptoms and call 9-1-1 if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the warning signs.

What does being designated as an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital (ESRH) mean?


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.

Emergent Stroke Ready Hospitals diagnose, treat and transport acute stroke patients to a higher level of care as warranted – such as the immediate access telemedicine provides. As an ESRH, we must annually attest our continued compliance with specific criteria aligning with nationally recognized, evidence-based standards, such as those from the American Heart/Stroke Association and Brain Attack Coalition.

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

Quality Improvement


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.