Stroke care certification programs

DNV stroke certification verifies that an organization's stroke care programs are meeting or exceeding standards of care in the delivery of quality stroke care


This certification allows smaller and rural hospitals to demonstrate excellence by complying with standards of care for the initial treatment of stroke patients, when rapid action and proper medications can save lives and limit the long-term disabling effects of strokes.

ASR facilities become part of a region's larger stroke system of care, in which the hospital is equipped to evaluate, stabilize and provide emergency care to patients with acute stroke symptoms.

An ASR hospital has the infrastructure and capability to care for acute stroke, including administration of intravenous thrombolytic therapy (also known as tissue plasminogen activator "tPA" or aleplase). An ASR has fewer overall capabilities than a Primary Stroke Center, but has staff and resources able to diagnose, stabilize, treat, and transfer most patients with stroke.

Most acute stroke patients may be transferred to a Primary Stroke Center or a Comprehensive Stroke Center that would provide ongoing care and/or endovascular procedures, as indicated, after initial treatment and stabilization.


This certification is for medium and larger capacity hospitals, which admit most patients treated in their facilities, and which, also, serve as receiving hospitals for patients treated in ASR facilities.

A Primary Stroke Center (PSC) has the necessary staffing, infrastructure and programs to stabilize and treat most emergent stroke patients. In addition to possessing the capabilities of an ASR facility, a PSC can provide treatment to a broader range of stroke conditions and is able to provide some acute therapies, as well as admit patients to a designated stroke unit or to beds, specifically assigned for stroke care.

Additional functions of a PSC may be to act as a resource center for other facilities in their region, including being a main transfer site for stabilized patients from an ASR. This can include offering guidance for triage of patients, providing expertise about managing particular cases, making diagnostic tests or treatments available to patients treated initially at an ASR, and being an educational resource for other hospitals and health care professionals in a city or region.



This is our new level of stroke care for organizations, which meet the requirements of the primary stroke program and are fully thrombectomy capable, but cannot meet the Comprehensive Stroke requirements due to reasons such as volume requirements or capability to provide the full services as required. 

The PSC+ Program Certification includes all the requirements of the Primary Stroke Program (PSC) with the addition of the specific thrombectomy, medical staff and metric requirements that are in the comprehensive program. There is a guiding crosswalk of the metric requirements and Get With The Guidelines, designed to make the metric collection to be more in line with that system.


This certification addresses hospitals with personnel, infrastructure, and expertise to diagnose and treat stroke patients, who require intensive medical and surgical care, specialized test or interventional therapies. A Comprehensive Stoke Center (CSC) delivers the highest quality of care to the most complex cases, offering evidence based treatments with cutting edge research protocols.

CSCs can treat patients, suffering hemorrhagic or large ischemic strokes, with follow up care in an intensive care unit. Other stroke incidents include patients with suspected aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, those with strokes from unusual etiologies or requiring specialized testing or therapies, such as endovascular surgery, and those requiring multispecialty management.

A CSC also functions as a resource center for other facilities in their area, offering guidance and consultation for triage of patients, providing expertise about managing particular cases, making diagnostic tests or treatments available to patients, treated initially at a PSC or an ASR facility, and being an educational resource for other hospitals.

Stroke care certification documents

Our standards and requirements are available for download free of charge


Stroke care service line brochure


Acute stroke ready (ASR) certification standards


Primary stroke center (PSC) certification standards


Primary plus stroke center (PSC+) certification standards


Comprehensive stroke center (CSC) certification standards