Baptist Clay Medical Campus Receives State’s First Stroke Designation for a Freestanding Emergency Center

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The certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognizes hospitals equipped to treat stroke patients with timely, evidence-based care prior to transferring them to a Primary or Comprehensive Stroke Center.

The Baptist Clay Medical Campus has received certification as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital, the first designation by The Joint Commission to a freestanding emergency center in Florida.

The certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognizes hospitals equipped to treat stroke patients with timely, evidence-based care prior to transferring them to a Primary or Comprehensive Stroke Center.

“The team at the Baptist Clay Medical Campus has demonstrated excellence in caring for patients presenting with stroke symptoms, and this certification reflects their commitment to ensuring high-level, high-quality care to our patients,” said Mindy S. Grall, PhD, ARNP-BC, administrative director of the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Program at Baptist Health.

The Baptist Clay Medical Campus underwent a rigorous onsite review recently to assess its compliance with the Joint Commission’s Advanced Disease-Specific Care certification requirements, including:

  • A dedicated stroke-focused program
  • Staffing by qualified medical professionals trained in stroke care
  • Collaboration with local emergency management agencies
  • 24/7 ability to perform rapid diagnostic and laboratory testing
  • Ability to administer intravenous clot-busting medications to eligible patients
  • Availability of telemedicine technology

“This certification demonstrates our ability to deliver the best in timely acute care for patients suffering from a stroke,” said Darin C. Roark, BSN, MBA, RN, administrator of Emergency Services for Baptist Health. “Research demonstrates that during a stroke,
2 million neurons die each minute. The Baptist Health Stroke and Cerebrovascular Program offers timely evaluation and treatment with the appropriate medication and when necessary, further endovascular intervention for patients suffering from acute stroke. The residents of Clay County can rest assured knowing immediate stroke care is ready and available 24/7 at our Fleming Island campus.”

“When responding to a stroke, every second counts,” said Casey Carrigan, MD, medical director of the Stroke Program for Baptist Clay Medical Campus. “Time lost is brain lost. In a typical ischemic stroke, a person’s brain ages 3.6 years every hour without treatment compared to a normally aging brain. Our medical team is here to ensure patients receive the highest quality and timely care to improve chances of survival.”

Established in 2015, Acute Stroke Ready Hospital Certification is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals. The certification was derived from the Brain Attack Coalition’s “Recommendations for Comprehensive Stroke Centers” (Stroke, 2005), “Metrics for Measuring Quality of Care in Comprehensive Stroke Centers” (Stroke, 2011) and recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care.

“A Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association certified Acute Stroke Ready Hospital will be the foundation for acute stroke care in many communities, allowing it to be the first stop on a patient’s acute stroke journey,” said Wendi Roberts, RN, BA, MS, CLNC, executive director, Certification Programs, The Joint Commission.

Stroke is the fifth cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

About Baptist Health
Baptist Health is a faith-based, mission-driven system in Northeast Florida comprised of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville; Baptist Medical Center Beaches; Baptist Medical Center Nassau; Baptist Medical Center South; Baptist Clay Medical Campus and Wolfson Children’s Hospital – the region’s only children’s hospital. All Baptist Health hospitals, along with Baptist Home Health Care, have achieved Magnet™ status for excellence in patient care. Baptist Health is part of Coastal Community Health, a regional affiliation between Baptist Health, Flagler Hospital and Southeast Georgia Health System forming a highly integrated hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. Baptist Health has the area’s only dedicated heart hospital; orthopedic institute; women’s services; neurological institute, including comprehensive neurosurgical services, a comprehensive stroke center and two primary stroke centers; a Bariatric Center of Excellence; a full range of psychology and psychiatry services; urgent care services; and primary and specialty care physicians’ offices throughout Northeast Florida. The Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center is a regional destination for multidisciplinary cancer care which is clinically integrated with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the internationally renowned cancer treatment and research institution in Houston. For more details, visit

The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent,
nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The familiar Heart-Check mark now helps consumers evaluate their choices in hospital care. Each mark given to a hospital is earned by meeting specific standards for the care of patients with heart disease and/or stroke. The Heart-Check mark can only be displayed by hospitals that have achieved and defined requirements set by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. For more information on the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Hospital Accreditation Program visit

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Deborah Circelli
Baptist Health
+1 (904) 202-4916
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