Applications are now available for hospital participation in the new Washington Emergency Cardiac and Stroke (ECS) System.  The ECS System is designed to provide timely treatment for cardiac and stroke patients, including getting the patient to the right hospital.  The new law (Chapter 70.168 RCW), effective in June 2010, asks hospitals to self-identify cardiac and stroke capabilities.  Additionally, the Department of Health (“DOH”) will:
  • “Expand the scope of EMS and Trauma regional quality assurance programs to include cardiac and stroke cases.
  • Require quality improvement activities for participating hospitals.
  • Identify hospitals that can treat cardiac and stroke patients and meet criteria to participate in the system.
  • Adopt standard procedures for emergency medical services to assess and triage cardiac and stroke patients.”

More information regarding the ECS System is available at on the DOH website, including an informative PDF.

Below is a letter sent out by the DOH regarding hospital applications:

To All Chief Executive Officers and Staff Involved in Cardiac and Stroke Care:

Back in September, we told you about the Emergency Cardiac and Stroke (ECS) System the Department of Health is putting in place  We also told you we’d be sending out information about how to apply to participate in the system. That’s what this email message is about.

Applying to participate in the ECS System is easy. There are three categorization levels for stroke centers and two for cardiac centers. Most hospitals already meet the criteria to participate at one of the levels. Steps to apply:

1)      Determine which level of cardiac and stroke center categorization best fits your hospital’s resources and capabilities. See the participation criteria here [NOTE: we have provided clarification and made minor modifications to the criteria on the application. Please request an application even if you think your hospital doesn’t meet the participation criteria exactly as stated on the website.]

2)      Request an application for the categorization level you wish to apply for by sending an email to Kim Kelley, Cardiac/Stroke Systems Coordinator, We will begin sending applications out Friday, December 3, 2011.

3)      Complete and submit the application according to the instructions on the application.

You’ll hear back from us within 60 days of the date we receive your application. We hope you’ll apply right away. The sooner we can let EMS know which hospitals are participating, the faster we can get the system in place and start saving more lives and reducing disability for the people in our communities.

We look forward to working with you to build on all the improvements in cardiac and stroke care you’ve already made at your hospitals. Now it’s time for us to improve our response and treatment before the patient gets to the hospital by building a comprehensive, coordinated Emergency Cardiac and Stroke System. It’ll be the first system in the country that includes both cardiac and stroke care and is in place statewide.

If you have questions, contact Kim Kelley, 360-236-3613,


Janet Kastl, Director

Office of Community Health Systems