TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital is now Primary Stroke Center Certified, a designation meaning the tribe has the health staff and resources dedicated to the prevention and treatment of strokes.

Cherokee Nation’s Hastings Hospital is the first tribally-operated hospital accredited by Det Norske Veritas, the international organization that certifies its quality management system. Hastings also achieved the Acute Stroke Ready Certification last year.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner recently visited Hastings staff to present the new certification. 

“Any one of us or our family members could suffer a stroke, and no matter where we are in the Cherokee Nation Reservation, this designation gives great peace of mind knowing that our Cherokee Nation health system has achieved this excellence of care,” Chief Hoskin said. “Within these critical minutes, when time is of the essence, we now have a system in place to treat this and save or drastically improve lives.”

As a Primary Stroke Center, W.W. Hastings Hospital has the necessary staffing, infrastructure and programs to treat most emergent stroke patients. Hastings can also provide treatment for more extensive stroke conditions and are able to deliver some acute therapies, as well as admit patients to a designated stroke unit or reserve beds specifically for stroke care.

Cherokee Nation worked on the designation for more than a year with an internal committee and a partnership with Regional Brain Institute, said Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Medical Director Dr. Roger Montgomery. 

“Cardiovascular disease, which includes stroke, is the leading cause of death across Indian Country,” Dr. Montgomery said. “It’s important that we do everything we can to combat these leading causes of death among the Cherokee people and this certification is a critical step in accomplishing this and continuing to expand the specialized care that patients need.”  

As a Primary Stroke Center, Hastings may also act as a resource center for other facilities in the area, including being a transfer site for stabilized patients from area facilities.

“Being a PSC gives our patients the confidence that we can deliver the most effective stroke treatment strategy,” said Dr. Anna Wanahita, CEO of Regional Brain Institute and Cherokee Nation Health Services Stroke Medical Director. “We now offer a 360-degree approach to stoke care, ranging from acute treatment to stabilization and investigation of the cause, so that our specialists can implement the best course of action in the inpatient setting.”

Once a patient has been treated for a stroke, the health team of experts work to optimize recovery and set preventative measures in place for possible future strokes. Health staff have also trained EMS providers on how to identify and care for stroke patients in transit and offer a stroke clinic in Tahlequah, she said.

For more information visit https://health.cherokee.org/services-and-programs/neurology-services/