Virginia Stroke System

During the 2008 General Assembly § 32.1-111.3, the Statewide Emergency Medical Care System, was amended to add “as a component of the Emergency Medical Services Plan a statewide Prehopsital and Interhospital Stroke Triage Plan designed to promote rapid access for stroke patients to appropriate, organized stroke care through the publication and regular updating of information on resources for stroke care and generally accepted criteria for stroke triage and appropriate transfer”. The legislation was added as a result of a Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) study.

The JCHC also recommended the establishment of a Virginia Stroke Systems Task Force (VSSTF). The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has accepted this recommendation and the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program  within the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control will be managing the VSSTF on behalf of VDH; OEMS developed and maintains the State’s stroke triage plan and represents the OEMS as a standing member of the stroke task force.

The EMS regions, through contract with the OEMS, develop regional stroke plans that are based on the State stroke plan (see link below.)  Regional plans incorporate each regions geographic variations and acute stroke care capabilities and resources.  The goal of stroke triage is to direct acute strokes to certified stroke centers whenever possible.  Certified Stroke Centers are those hospitals certified by the Joint Commission, or other designating bodies such as DNV.GL  ,  The Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program  and the American Heart Association.   Virginia recognizes multiple levels of stroke certification that are consistent with the recommendations of the Brain Attack Coalition.  They are Comprehensive Stroke Centers, Primary Stroke Centers, Primary Stroke Centers with supplementary levels of stroke care distinction  and Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals.

In its 2018 General Assembly session both the House and Senate passed respective bills (House Bill 1198 and Senate Bill 868) that necessitated updating the Virginia Stroke Triage Plan to make it compliant with the new legislation.  Please refer to the Change Log included in the updated plan for specific information.

Links & Documents

Virginia Stroke Triage Plan July 2018

Virginia Stroke Systems Task Force

American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke (NINDS)

NIH/NINDS Know Stroke Website