Lower Keys Medical Center is nationally recognized for its commitment to providing high-quality stroke care
Lower Keys Medical Center has received the American Heart Association’s Gold Plus Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke quality achievement award for its commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines, ultimately leading to more lives saved and reduced disability.
Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells die. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and accelerating recovery times.
Get With The Guidelines puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping ensure patient care is aligned with the latest research- and evidence-based guidelines. Get With The Guidelines - Stroke is an in-hospital program for improving stroke care by promoting consistent adherence to these guidelines, which can minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death.
“Lower Keys Medical Center is committed to improving patient care by adhering to the latest treatment guidelines,” said David Clay, CEO. “Get With The Guidelines makes it easier for our teams to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis, which studies show can help patients recover better. The end goal is to ensure more people in the Lower Keys can experience longer, healthier lives.”
Each year, program participants qualify for the award by demonstrating how their organization has committed to providing quality care for stroke patients. In addition to following treatment guidelines, Get With The Guidelines participants also educate patients to help them manage their health and recovery at home.
“We are incredibly pleased to recognize Lower Keys Medical Center for its commitment to caring for patients with stroke,” said Steven Messe, M.D., chairperson of the Stroke System of Care Advisory Group. “Participation in Get With The Guidelines is associated with improved patient outcomes, fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates – a win for health care systems, families and communities.”
About: Lower Keys Medical Center is accredited by The Joint Commission in Hospital and Laboratory Programs, and as a Primary Stroke Center. The hospital is also accredited by the American College of Cardiology as a Chest Pain Center and by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission in Echocardiography.
About Get With The Guidelines®
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 9 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) announced the reaffirmation of accreditation of The College of the Florida Keys (CFK) for the next 10 years. This action was approved with “no recommendations” by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees at its annual meeting on June 16.
Accreditation is completed through “a collective analysis and judgement.” The process, which spans several years, began with CFK’s internal constituencies assembling a Compliance Report, an extensive document that demonstrates accordance with each Core Requirement and Comprehensive Standard established by SACSCOC. Additionally, the College needed to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that aims to improve specific student learning outcomes. CFK’s QEP, dubbed Destination Graduation, was launched in April. It focuses on reducing students’ time to program completion. Both the Compliance Report and QEP were meticulously evaluated by peer evaluators representing the SACSCOC. The process included a site visit that occurred virtually last September. Subsequently, elected SACSCOC Board members made the final determination of CFK’s compliance with accreditation requirements.
“SACSCOC’s reaffirmation of CFK is the result of diligent and committed work by many at the College,” said Dr. Jonathan Gueverra, CFK President. “This extraordinary outcome denotes the College’s high standards and levels of compliance with SACSCOC requirements. Being accredited is a stamp of approval that tells our community that CFK’s quality and integrity of its programs are such that students will be eligible for federal financial aid. It applies to all programs and services, regardless of location, and indicates that CFK is successful in achieving its stated objectives.”
Key West High School Baseball Team Commended
Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission commended the Key West High School Baseball Team for their outstanding season.
The 2022 baseball program for Key West High School won the 4A District 16 Championship on May 5th, 2022. The Conchs baseball program earned their #1 seed in the regional playoffs by commanding a spectacular 23 and 7 record for the season.
“The baseball team and coaches have shown,” reads the commendation, “that through tenacity and perseverance, the spirit of ‘Conch Ball’ remains intact.
“Coach Ralph Henriquez and son Ralph Henriquez Jr. continue to add to the legacy of performance,” it continues, “Coach Henriquez collected over 350 wins in his Key West High coaching career.”
The team thanked the commission and the Key West community for their support.
Key West High School Lady Conchs Softball Team Commended
Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission commended the Key West Lady Conchs Girls Softball Team for their outstanding season.
The team won the regional championship on May 20th and became the first ever Key West High School softball team to advance to the State Championship Series.
Coach Jason Garcia, Assistant Coach Erik Snow, and the team accepted the commendation.
“They say it takes a village to raise a kid,” said Coach Garcia, “Well, it takes a community to have a quality softball team. I said here last year that we’d go to the state championships, and we look forward to doing it again next year.”
City Attorney Shawn Smith, whose daughter is on the team, reiterated Coach Garcia’s statement. He noted that this same group of young women has appeared annually in front of the commission, earning kudos for their softball accomplishments as they grew from the eight and under league to where they are today.
The commendation also recognized the team’s leadership. “Coach Jason Garcia, assistant coach Erik Snow and pitching coach Jewls Castillo continue to do an outstanding job with the development of contenders and athletes,” reads the commendation.
City Manager Patti McLauchlin, during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, brought back an important honor by naming Jacek Witczak the Employee of the Quarter.
Witczak came to work with the City in 2007 in public works. He was quickly promoted to the Facilities Maintenance Team, where he continues to keep the air conditioners running.
“Everyone who works for the City knows Jacek as the rock star,” said McLauchlin. She noted that he works many extra hours and performs many jobs above and beyond his job description. When the City needed lifeguards, he got certified.
“You’ve done a great job,” she told him. “Thank you for your outstanding dedication, service and commitment to the City of Key West. We appreciate all that you do.”
The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners and Monroe County Fire Rescue Chief Steve Hudson recognized Sheriff Rick Ramsay for his partnership over the past few years in helping to keep the community safe. In addition to Trauma Star, Hudson thanked him for allowing Monroe County Fire Rescue to share space at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Substation on Cudjoe Key before the new building was operational.
“His hospitality allowed us to serve Lower Keys residents with emergency services without missing a beat,” said Hudson. “We appreciate having a great partnership with him and all of his MCSO staff. Our collaboration helps keep the community safe and provides the quickest available services to our community members in an emergency.”
City Manager Patti McLauchlin was recently awarded The Zonta Club of Key West’s Community Service Award.
“Zonta is a service organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women through service and advocacy,” said outgoing Zonta President Amber Shaffer.
“This year’s selection for Zonta's Community Service award holds the top executive position in the City,” she said as she presented the award. “She works every day to improve our City and the lives of our residents.”
Lower Keys Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Advanced Primary Stroke Center Certification.
Lower Keys Medical Center underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review on March 25, 2022. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with related certification standards including program management, supporting self-management, and delivering and facilitating clinical care. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.
“Advanced Primary Stroke Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” said Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend Lower Keys Medical Center for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for stroke patients.”
“We congratulate Lower Keys Medical Center for this outstanding achievement,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer, the American Stroke Association. “This certification reflects its commitment to providing the highest quality of care for stroke patients.”
Lower Keys Medical Center CEO, David Clay, said, “Accreditation as a Primary Stroke Center acknowledges the commitment our team has made to employing best practices and providing the best care possible for our patients. I thank all of our employees for their dedication to continuous quality improvement.”
For more information, please visit The Joint Commission website.
In a recent awards ceremony hosted by the Grand Key Resort, Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg recognized Officers Andrea Bernatova and Thomas Haynie with the Lifesaving Award.
On February 23rd, Officers Bernatova and Haynie responded to a call for an elderly man having a heart attack at the Casa Marina. Both officers rushed to the suite and found the man on the floor unresponsive and with no pulse.
They immediately began resuscitation efforts, continuing until Key West Rescue arrived on scene and took over the patient’s care. The man was transported to the hospital where he regained a pulse. He was subsequently airlifted.
“The quick response and outstanding ability to work together likely saved the life of this man,” said Chief Brandenburg. “Officers Bernatova and Haynie have rightly earned the Lifesaving Award.”
In an awards ceremony Friday, hosted by the Grand Key Resort, Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg named Officer Santiago Perez Officer of the Year 2021 and Denise Richardson Civilian Employee of the Year 2021.
These honors are sponsored by Keys Federal Credit Union and Mary Lou Carn was on hand to present each recipient with a $500 check.
Officer Perez began his career with the Key West Police Department in 2017, having completed the Law Enforcement Academy at the College of the Florida Keys.
“Officer Perez genuinely cares about the community he serves,” said Chief Brandenburg. “He can always be relied upon to go the extra mile whether it's providing food and water to migrants or going out of his way to help someone in crisis.”
Denise Richardson has been with the department since 2010. During that time she has proven to be a dedicated professional who regularly comes in on her own time during the weekends to ensure payroll is completed and correct.
“Denise has gone above and beyond this year,” said Chief Brandenburg, “stepping up to fill some extra vital roles when staff left. Without any hesitation or complaint, Denise has worked three jobs in one without falling behind on any tasks. Her dedication ensured that the department continued to function at its very highest level.”
Each year, the Tennessee Williams Museum, in partnership with the Key West Art & Historical Society, hosts its annual Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration throughout the month of March. Activities include a series of literary-based programs, contests and fundraisers celebrating the renowned American playwright Tennessee Williams, a 34-year resident of the island.
As a component of Williams’ birthday festival, the museum organized poetry and short story contests. It would like to recognize all the 2022 winners.
First place in the poetry contest was awarded to Paul Milenski of Massachusetts for “I Knew You as Thomas Lanier Williams at Iowa,” while second place went to Joseph Stanton of Hawaii for “Paper Lanterns.” In the short story component of the contest, Annette Holmstrom of Washington state was awarded first place for “Good Night Irene,” while second place went to Mary Lou Condike of Big Pine Key for “The Yellow Poster.” The winners of the contest were awarded certificates and a monetary prize sponsored by Laurie McChesney of Preferred Properties.
To read the prize-winning writing submissions, visit https://www.kwahs.org/museums/tennessee-williams/twfestival. Your museums. Your community. It takes an island.
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