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Recent Research Points to Better Outcomes for Stroke Patients

Many hospitals are now performing thrombectomies, in which clots are removed quickly, avoiding lasting damage or death. Groundbreaking new research has concluded the sooner the thrombectomy, the better the chances a severe stroke patient will recover, avoid disability, and in many cases recuperate enough to live independently.

Most hospitals calling themselves “primary stroke centers” aren’t capable of doing a thrombectomy. A medical-certification group that accredits stroke hospitals—the Joint Commission, has started approving a new type of hospital called a “thrombectomy-capable stroke center.” These are hospitals that don’t necessarily perform enough volumes of neurosurgery or treatment of brain hemorrhages to qualify for a higher “comprehensive stroke center” status, but they are able to offer thrombectomies.

Hospitals have a financial incentive to offer the procedure. The initial cost of building a thrombectomy suite is about $2.5 million, and the thrombectomy specialist teams can be upward of another $600,000 annually, according to medical industry documents.

But reimbursements from Medicare can average $37,000 per case at a typical big-city hospital, compared with an average cost of $26,000 a case. So the procedure can be profitable for hospitals over time.

Read more in The Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required).




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