First Level III Stroke Certification in State Given to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman

KAUFMAN, Texas — Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman is the first hospital in Texas to receive Level III Stroke Certification from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The Level III certification is designed to recognize smaller hospitals that have implemented advanced stroke-treatment programs.

Texas Health Kaufman stroke team
The stroke team at Texas Health Kaufman includes (from left) Denise Claussen, chief nursing officer, Robin Roberts, stroke coordinator, and Dr. Paul Roberts, ER physician.
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“To better serve the residents of Kaufman County, we found it imperative to receive our stroke certification, knowing that we have the ability to impact the lives of patients debilitated by acute stroke,” said Patsy Youngs, president of Texas Health Kaufman. “The designation truly embodies our mission to improve the health of the people in the community we serve.”

Larger hospitals are certified as stroke centers through the Joint Commission, the national accreditation agency for health care organizations. Until now, no certification has been available to recognize smaller hospitals for stroke care.

“But with so many people living in communities outside big metropolitan areas, it’s these smaller hospitals that are the frontlines for stroke diagnosis and care,” said Robin Roberts, R.N., stroke coordinator at Texas Health Kaufman. “That’s why it’s so important that hospitals like ours are able to spot the signs of stroke early and get treatments started.”

Texas Health Kaufman’s Level III Stroke Certification means the hospital has developed a program to rapidly identify patients suffering stroke and administer the clot-busting medication tPA. If further treatments are needed, including neurosurgery or interventional radiology, the program has a transfer system set up to send the patients to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, a Level I Stroke Center in Dallas.

“The main thing we want people to understand is that if they think their loved one is having a stroke, they need to get them to the ER as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Paul Roberts, an emergency medicine physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Kaufman. “And if you think you’re having a stroke yourself, you need to call an ambulance.”

A stroke is blood clot in the blood vessels of the brain that can cause major neurological damage. Millions of brain cells die per minute due to lack of oxygen caused by the blood clot. It’s the third leading cause of death in the United States: more than $65 billion a year are spent on treating strokes and disabilities caused by the brain injuries.

“Stringent time frames for diagnostic exams such as brain cat scans are imposed and door-to-treatment windows are minimized,” said Denise Claussen, chief nursing officer at Texas Health Kaufman. “Patients are quickly diagnosed, screened for the ability to receive tPA (the only FDA approved treatment for acute stroke), then transferred to the care of a specialized stroke neurologist.”

With the Level III certification, patients recognized by EMS as having acute stroke will be brought to Texas Health Kaufman to receive the time-sensitive clot-busting drugs.

“All patients with stroke symptoms, whether they’re brought to the hospital by ambulance or arrive on their own, are treated the same way,” said Dr. Jeff Butterfield, the hospital’s medical director of Emergency Medicine and an independently practicing physician on the medical staff. “During and after every stroke case, the plan is monitored and verified that the best possible care was received by every patient, and any deficiencies are evaluated and revised for continuous improvement.”

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman is a 91-bed acute-care, full-service medical center serving Kaufman and Henderson counties and the southern part of Dallas County since 1979. The hospital's services include women’s services, wound care, diagnostic imaging, cardiac rehabilitation and pain management services. Texas Health Kaufman, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, was recently recognized with the Pathway to Excellence hospital designation for distinction in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and is a Level IV Trauma Center. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit