Primary Stroke Center Certification

Check out the 2015 International Stroke Conference Presentation on Primary Stroke Center and Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification.

We now offer two types of certification. Please review the questions below in order to help guide you through which one is right for your hospital.

First, determine which certification program your hospital is eligible to apply for:
Is your hospital accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC)? If the answer is YES, you may be eligible for Primary Stroke Center certification through the joint American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and The Joint Commission program.  Please review the certification manual for our program with The Joint Commission.

If your hospital is not accredited by TJC, you may be eligible for direct certification through the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Primary Stroke Certification program.  Please review the certification manual for this track to determine if your hospital profile fits the criteria for direct certification for non-TJC hospitals. Please click here to create an account and review eligibility criteria.

Primary Stroke Center Certification recognizes hospitals that meet standards to support better outcomes for stroke care. Eligibility standards include:
  • a dedicated stroke-focused program
  • staffing by qualified medical professionals trained in stroke care
  • individualized care to meet stroke patients’ needs
  • patient involvement in their hospital care
  • coordination of post-discharge patient self-care based on recommendations of the Brain Attack Coalition and guidelines published by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association or equivalent guidelines
  • streamlined flow of patient information while protecting patient rights, security and privacy
  • collection of the hospital’s stroke-treatment performance data
  • hospital team performance data
  • use of data to assess and continually improve quality of care for stroke patients
Tools and Resources
Hospital teams that commit to earning Primary Stroke Center certification are supported by tools, resources and access to program representatives who can answer questions along the way.
  • Overview Sheet
  • Visit our Stroke Web Resource Center at and help yourself tools for beating stroke, including:
    • downloadable patient education handouts, posters, community slide decks and customizable Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. campaign tools for Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke hospitals, Primary Stroke Centers and Comprehensive Stroke Centers
    • customizable Ad Council materials for donate-media placement by not-for-profit hospitals
    • customizable patient education handouts and poster for Get With The Guidelines-Stroke hospitals, Primary Stroke Centers and Comprehensive Stroke Centers
  • Visit our Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke website for clinical tools to support quality stroke care.
  • Visit our Target: StrokeSM website for strategies and clinical tools to support quality outcomes for your stroke patients.
  • Sign up for our quarterly e-newsletter, filled with news and happenings related to Hospital Accreditation & Certification as well as other American Heart Association quality improvement programs. Past e-newsletters are archived and available online.
Hospital teams that have achieved certification know the process and the pride that comes with it. Here's what a few of them have to say about their experience:
  • Improves the quality of care provided to patients
  • Demonstrates commitment to a higher standard of service
  • Provides a framework for organizational structure and management
  • Provides a competitive edge in the marketplace
  • Enhances staff recruitment and development
  • Is recognized by insurers and other third parties
How long will the hospital be certified?
Certification is effective and renewed every two-years.

How can I use the Heart-Check mark?
Once your hospital is certified, you may display the Heart-Check mark in your advertising and promotions on websites, materials, and share this news with your community. Contact for access to logos and branding guidelines and to learn ways to use the icon to celebrate your PSC!

Sign up to get started now
The sooner you begin, the sooner you can celebrate your accomplishment and share the news with your community. Please contact us at for help and answers to your questions.