Tri-City hospitals to join cardiat, stroke system

Kadlec Regional Medical Center and Kennewick General Hospital have been certified to become part of a statewide emergency cardiac and stroke network once it goes live in July.

Kadlec earned Level I cardiac center and Level II stroke center designations. KGH earned Level II cardiac and stroke center designations.

The Washington State Emergency Cardiac and Stroke System was created by a state law adopted in 2010 with the goal of making sure cardiac and stroke patients get to the right hospital for their emergency in the right amount of time.

Hospitals choose to be part of the system and applied for the designations, which are similar to the trauma system designations already in place in the state.

The higher the level, the more dire or complicated an emergency the hospital is deemed able to handle, according to the criteria published by the state Department of Health.

According to health department criteria, a Level I cardiac center is able to treat an acute heart attack with angioplasty at any hour or any day of the week.

A Level II cardiac center can provide rapid assessment and treatment of acute coronary symptoms to stabilize a patient before transferring to a Level I center, if necessary.

All levels are required to have a cardiac team and a policy for activating the team, the health department said.

A Level I stroke center, also known as a comprehensive stroke center, is one capable of treating stroke patients who require intensive medical and surgical care, specialized tests or interventional therapies.

A Level II center, such as Kadlec and KGH, is one with the staff and facilities to stabilize and treat most stroke patients, the health department said.

Level III centers can stabilize acute stroke patients before transferring them to a Level II or Level I center.