Hackensack University Medical Center Earns Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification


Newswise — HACKENSACK, NJ – On January 14, 2020, Hackensack Meridian Health’s Hackensack University Medical Center earned Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) certification from The Joint Commission, a national healthcare accreditation organization. Hackensack University Medical Center is the ninth hospital in New Jersey — and one of fewer than 200 hospitals in the United States — to earn the CSC certification, joining JFK Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center as the third CSC-certified facility in the Hackensack Meridian Health network. 

The CSC certification — which is awarded in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association — is the highest level of certification for hospitals with specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases. 

“Our CSC certification demonstrates Hackensack University Medical Center’s commitment to providing the highest-quality stroke care using the most advanced procedures, technology and treatments,” said Mark D. Sparta, PT, MPA, FACHE, President and Chief Hospital Executive at Hackensack University Medical Center and Executive Vice President of Population Health at Hackensack Meridian Health. “Members of our community can rest assured that if they or their loved one needs stroke treatment at Hackensack University Medical Center, they will receive care that meets or surpasses national standards of excellence.” 

Before receiving its latest CSC certification, Hackensack University Medical Center was certified by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. Primary Stroke Center certification means that a facility is equipped to provide advanced stroke care, including administering tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a “clot-busting” medication. Hackensack University Medical Center achieved its upgraded CSC certification status as a result of interdisciplinary program enhancements, including: 

  • The ability to treat both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, including brain aneurysms
  • Offering the most complex neurosurgical procedures, including intra-arterial stroke treatment procedures, such as thrombectomies to remove blood clots
  • Establishing a dedicated Neurocritical Care Unit that provides specialized post-stroke care

“Hackensack University Medical Center’s CSC certification is proof that our stroke care specialists are ready and able provide patients with the best possible stroke care and treat the most complicated and serious strokes when seconds count,” said Martin S. Gizzi, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the Cerebrovascular Diseases Program at Hackensack University Medical Center. 

To earn its CSC designation, Hackensack University Medical Center’s stroke care team was required to collect and report data showing that the hospital met or exceeded standardized performance measures. In addition to collecting and reporting data to The Joint Commission, Hackensack University Medical Center also was required to establish a performance improvement program that promotes ongoing analysis of patient outcome data and allows for future stroke care innovations.  

“The collaborative, high-quality care consistently provided by the entire stroke team at Hackensack University Medical Center has made our CSC designation a reality,” said Florian Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Neuroscience Institute and the Department of Neurology at Hackensack University Medical Center. “At Hackensack University Medical Center and across the Hackensack Meridian Health network, we are committed to continuing to raise the bar for stroke care excellence.” 

The Comprehensive Stroke Center at Hackensack University Medical Center — the largest and busiest of its kind in Bergen County — provides rapid evaluation and comprehensive care to nearly 1,000 patients each year who have experienced a stroke. In addition to receiving certification from the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Hackensack University Medical Center has been designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the State of New Jersey since 2007. The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have recognized Hackensack University Medical Center’s exceptional stroke care program by including the hospital in the Stroke Honor Roll of the “Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus” Performance Achievement Award and Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus. 

In addition to Hackensack University Medical Center, 11 other Hackensack Meridian Health facilities have earned stroke center certification from The Joint Commission, including: 

  • Bayshore Medical Center, Holmdel - Primary Stroke Center
  • Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune - Comprehensive Stroke Center
  • JFK Medical Center, Edison - Comprehensive Stroke Center
  • Mountainside Medical Center, Montclair – Primary Stroke Center
  • Ocean Medical Center, Brick – Primary Stroke Center
  • Packsack Valley Medical Center, Westwood – Primary Stroke Center
  • Palisades Medical Center, North Bergen – Primary Stroke Center
  • Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy – Primary Stroke Center
  • Raritan Bay Medical Center, Old Bridge – Primary Stroke Center
  • Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank –  Primary Stroke Center
  • Southern Ocean Medical Center, Manahawkin – Primary Stroke Center 

For more information, contact Mary McGeever, Hackensack University Medical Center Communications and Public Relations Department, at 551-996-1730 (office), 551-795-1675 (cell) or [email protected]



Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care, which is comprised of 35,000 team members and more than 7,000 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center is ranked #2 in New Jersey and #59 in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 Best Hospital rankings and is ranked high-performing in the U.S. in  colon cancer surgery, lung cancer surgery, COPD, heart failure, heart bypass surgery, aortic valve surgery, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, knee replacement and hip replacement. Out of 4,500 hospitals evaluated, Hackensack is one of only 57 that received a top rating in all nine procedures and conditions. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2018. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 26 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its sixth consecutive designation in 2019. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: John Theurer Cancer Center, a consortium member of the NCI-designated Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to THE NORTHERN TRUST PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit www.HackensackUMC.org.



Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. 

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 35,000 team members, and 7,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves. 

The network’s notable distinctions include having four hospitals among the top in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2019” list. 

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University opened in 2018, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its second class of 96 students in 2019 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.