July 17, 2017

FRHS Designated by DHHS as Primary Stroke Center

LINCOLN - The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services recently designated 13 hospitals as Primary Stroke Centers. The designation is part of creating a Stroke System of Care across the state to facilitate rapid recognition of symptoms, patient transport to an appropriate hospital and timely treatment.

“More than 3,700 Nebraskans had a stroke in 2015 and it is the fifth leading cause of death in Nebraska,” said Gov. Pete Ricketts. “Early activation is critical. With a Stroke System of Care, EMS professionals and hospitals can work even more closely together to improve care and save lives.”

“Time is brain tissue when it comes to stroke,” said Dr. Tom Williams, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS. “A shorter time with symptoms equals a better outcome for stroke patients and less time in rehabilitation.”

DHHS Stroke Center designation is based on specialty certification specific to stroke from the Joint Commission, DNV or similar agencies. DHHS recently designated the following Nebraska hospitals as primary stroke centers:

  • Bryan Health, Lincoln
  • CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center Bergan Mercy, Omaha
  • CHI Health Good Samaritan, Kearney
  • CHI Health Immanuel, Omaha
  • CHI Health Lakeside, Omaha
  • CHI Health St. Elizabeth, Lincoln
  • CHI Health St. Francis, Grand Island
  • Faith Regional Health Services, Norfolk
  • Great Plains Health, North Platte
  • Mary Lanning Healthcare, Hastings
  • Methodist Hospital, Omaha
  • Nebraska Medicine, Bellevue
  • Nebraska Medicine, Omaha

In addition to designated stroke centers, there are more components to a comprehensive Stroke System of Care including:

  • Adoption of standardized triage and assessment tools, pre-hospital protocols along with training and continuing education for Emergency Medical Services related to the early identification of stroke and transport of stroke patients to the most appropriate hospital.
  • A Stroke Task Force that advises the department on triage, treatment and transport of acute stroke patients.

From the initial 9-1-1 to EMS arrival, the system will also provide tools EMS providers need to help identify a stroke in the field and notify a local hospital and/or a designated stroke center so that the hospital stroke team is ready and waiting.

“The Nebraska Stroke Advisory Council truly understands the value of well-developed stroke systems of care seeing firsthand the impact on patient outcomes,” said Denise Gorski, Council Chair and Director of Neurosciences at Nebraska Medicine.

The council includes stroke experts from across the state covering primary prevention, EMS, acute care, intervention, and rehabilitation with a focus on raising awareness of stroke, stroke prevention and improving stroke care throughout Nebraska.

DHHS is working with the council to develop guidance for non-designated hospitals. These hospitals will have a plan to triage and transfer stroke patients to the most appropriate level of care for treatment.

The Stroke System of Care Act (LB 722) passed by the Legislature in 2016 provides for the timely and effective treatment of stroke victims and improving outcomes for stroke patients.

To learn more about the Stroke System of Care, go to

For more information about the Nebraska Stroke Advisory Council, go to