The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association have launched a new Disease-Specific Care Advanced Certification Program for Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals.

The certification program targets accredited hospitals that would not otherwise be candidates for Primary Stroke Center or Comprehensive Stroke Center certification.

Eligible hospitals must have a dedicated stroke-focused program, be staffed by medical professionals trained in stroke care, be able to perform rapid diagnostic and laboratory testing 24/7, be able to administer clot-busting medications, have access to telemedicine services, and have established transfer agreements/protocols with facilities that provide primary or comprehensive stroke services.

“This new certification acts as an important bridge and will be a key component in an evolving system of stroke care,” Wendi Roberts, executive director of certification programs for the Joint Commission, said in a statement. “An Acute Stroke Ready Hospital will be the foundation for acute stroke care in many communities, allowing it to be the first step on a patient’s acute stroke journey before being transferred to a Primary Stroke Center or Comprehensive Stroke Center.”

Hospitals could apply for certification beginning July 1.