Skip to main content
  • North: min
  • West: min
  • South: min
  • Jackson: min

Health library

Back to health library

When every minute matters

Shannon Medical Center recently received Advanced Primary Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and the No. 1 cause of disability in the U.S. Few conditions occur as rapidly and with such destructive consequences as stroke. That’s why it’s crucial to seek medical care immediately.

Shannon Medical Center recently received Advanced Primary Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission. The certification recognizes Shannon’s ability to provide fast and effective stroke treatment, reducing the damage from this potentially debilitating event. Shannon is the only hospital in the Concho Valley with a certified Primary Stroke Center.

“Our health care professionals’ accurate diagnoses and prompt treatment address the specialized needs of stroke patients,” says Bryan Horner, CEO and president of Shannon Medical Center. “Shannon’s Primary Stroke Center certification expresses our continued dedication to provide exceptional health care to our patients by implementing the highest standard of stroke care supported by nationally accepted, evidence-based standards and guidelines.”

State-of-the-art center

As an Advanced Primary Stroke Center, Shannon is equipped with:

  • An integrated emergency response team.
  • Stroke-trained neurosurgeons, neurologists, and nursing staff.
  • Thrombolytic therapy.
  • A stroke unit with an acute stroke program coordinator.
  • Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation.
  • CT and MRI diagnostic testing.
  • Home health care and social services.

“After a stroke occurs, the goal is to reduce potentially devastating effects, prevent further damage to the brain, and decrease the medical and physical complications that can follow a stroke,” says Gerald Creel, RN, BSN, CCRN, director of Shannon’s acute stroke unit, inpatient rehabilitation unit and emergency department. “At Shannon, we’re fully equipped to provide lifesaving stroke treatment to patients 24/7.”

Last year, Shannon also received recognition from the American Heart Association for participating in the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program.

The path to certification

The Joint Commission’s certification for Primary Stroke Centers was developed in collaboration with the American Stroke Association. Certification is an important aspect of improving patient care. It reduces variation in clinical processes and provides a framework for clinical program structure and maintenance.

Shannon began the certification process more than two years ago, working to implement guidelines and assemble the proper team of health care professionals to provide exceptional care to stroke patients. Recertification will occur in two years.

“A key attribute of this process was bringing together people from various departments and achieving collaboration between all of those individuals,” says Chris Vanderzant, DO, Shannon Clinic neurologist and medical director of the Primary Stroke Center. “Our stroke team is comprised of individuals from the ER, ICU, radiology, lab, stroke unit and rehabilitation departments, as well as nurses and physicians. Area emergency services also play a huge role in providing proper, specialized care for these patients and transporting them to our stroke center quickly.”

Dedicated to the community

“This certification not only recognizes Shannon’s ability to provide lifesaving emergency treatment, but also the fact that we are focused on educating the community,” Creel says. “Our goal is that everyone will know the signs of a stroke and what to do if it happens to their loved one.”

To learn more about stroke warning signs and prevention, visit
Related stories

Health e-newsletter