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MMC Awarded Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers by Joint Commission

February 12, 2018

Contact: Caroline Cornish
207-662-5146 /

MMC Comprehensive Stoke Center 2018PORTLAND, Maine – Maine Medical Center has been certified by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC), the highest level of stroke certification a hospital can receive. MMC is the first hospital in Maine to join the elite group of certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers in the United States.

“This certification recognizes the excellence our care team provides patients every day,” said Joel Botler, M.D., MMC’s chief medical officer. “MMC is committed to continually living up to the Joint Commission’s high standards.”

The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers certifies MMC has the infrastructure, staff and training standards to support state-of-the-art care for the most complex stroke cases. To be eligible for CSC certification, a hospital must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center. It also must:

  • Have advanced imaging capabilities
  • Have 24/7 availability of specialized surgical and medical treatments for complex stroke cases, including endovascular treatments
  • Provide staff with education to ensure they can diagnose and treat complex stroke cases

"Over the last decade we have put together a stroke team that can care for the sickest stroke patients in Maine and New Hampshire 24/7 on a level that is matched by a only a few hospitals in this country," said Robert Ecker, M.D., the director of endovascular and cerebrovascular neurosurgery at MMC.

“Attaining Comprehensive Stroke Center status is a testament to the commitment Maine Medical Center has to ensuring we are providing the best care possible for patients suffering from cerebrovascular disease,” said Jane Morris, M.D., medical director of the MMC Stroke and Telestroke Network. “It has taken years of dedication, collaboration and multidisciplinary engagement to get us to where we are today. We celebrate this moment and we resolve to continue our efforts to provide excellence in stroke care.”

Hospitals throughout the MaineHealth system also benefit from MMC’s CSC certification. MaineHealth has developed a system in which patients treated in their local hospital’s emergency department can be transferred to MMC for specialized care when needed.

“Having Joint Commission certification shows all the systems are in place to get patients the proper care in the highest quality manner. We’ve certainly had some good successes,” said Robert Stein, M.D., the medical director of the Primary Stroke Center at Pen Bay Hospital in Rockport. “It’s well recognized throughout the state what a great job Dr. Ecker and Dr. Morris do leading this program.”

MMC underwent a rigorous onsite review in November 2017, when Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements.

"By achieving this advanced certification, Maine Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president and CEO, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Maine Medical Center for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

Established in 2012, Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals.

Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

About Maine Medical Center Maine Medical Center (MMC), recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News and World Report for 2017-2018, is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1868, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 8,700 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. For more information, visit

The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The familiar Heart-Check mark now helps consumers evaluate their choices in hospital care. Each mark given to a hospital is earned by meeting specific standards for the care of patients with heart disease and/or stroke. The Heart-Check mark can only be displayed by hospitals that have achieved and defined requirements set by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. For more information on the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Hospital Accreditation Program visit

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