FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 Connecticut Department of Public Health

November 6, 2007                                        Contact: William Gerrish

                                                                      (860) 509-7270



Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced its plans to designate primary stroke centers (PSC) across the state to improve health outcomes for people at risk for, or with a presumptive diagnosis of stroke.  


“Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Connecticut and a major cause of disability,” stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.  “Connecticut is committed to reducing the devastating impact of stroke by establishing standards for stroke prevention and quality care for patients with presumptive diagnosis of stroke.” 


In March 2006, DPH administered a survey to acute care hospitals to identify the capacity to provide comprehensive stroke services to presumptive stroke patients.  The results were that stroke care services differ across Connecticut hospitals.  Although most of the adult acute care hospitals in Connecticut reported having a formal stroke protocol, only fifty-two percent of hospitals surveyed have an acute “stroke team” or multi-disciplinary group available to evaluate suspected stroke patients within 15 minutes of the patient’s arrival. 


Regardless of the current stroke services offered, hospitals expressed widespread support for a designation program sponsored by DPH for all Connecticut acute care hospitals that meet certain standards of care related to primary stroke services.  Eleven criteria will be assessed by DPH to assure that a PSC has the necessary infrastructure, staffing and services to stabilize and treat most acute stroke patients.  The criteria for primary stroke center designation status was developed by consensus with Connecticut clinicians and stakeholders invested in improving stroke related morbidities and mortalities.  The group adapted criteria from the American Stroke Association practice standards for the treatment of acute stroke patients and recommendations from the Brain Attack Coalition Guidelines.


All Connecticut licensed acute care hospitals may apply to DPH for primary care stroke center designation status.  The program is voluntary and there is no fee to apply.  Applications can be accessed on the web at and clicking on Disease and Prevention; Stroke.


The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.