Stroke Program

Stroke Program   |   Services   |   FAQs   |    Quality Measures
Prevention & Risk Factors   |   Resources

Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the nation.  Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke, and every four minutes one person will die from a stroke.  According to the California Department of Public Health, more people die of stroke in Tulare County than in the state of California (42.7 per 100,000 compared to 38.1 per 100,000 deaths).  Stroke is a disease that affects the blood vessels that take blood to your brain.  Kaweah Delta has committed to providing the best care possible for our patients who have had a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack). According to HealthGrades Clinical Quality Reports, Kaweah Delta’s stroke death rate have been “better than expected” as compared to other hospitals throughout the nation. With this commitment, Kaweah Delta is working toward Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Certification. By pursuing certification, Kaweah Delta has reduced the variation in clinical processes thus improving the quality of patient care and increasing community education on stroke prevention.

The Stroke Program’s mission is to provide high quality, customer-oriented and financially strong healthcare services that meet the needs of patients who present to the hospital with signs and symptoms consistent with acute stroke or TIA. Our program goals include:

  1. Rapid identification of patients with signs/symptoms consistent with acute stroke.
  2. Appropriate and efficient management of acute stroke patients according to best practice guidelines.
  3. Certification as a Primary Stroke Center and becoming a Neurological Center of Excellence .

A multidisciplinary team works diligently to ensure we are providing best practice and evidence based care for our patients. The Stroke program leadership include:


Dr. Kevin Ferguson, Medical Director

Cheryl Smit, RN-BC, Stroke Program Manager

 Heidi Gonne, Stroke Registrar/Secretary

Emma Camarena, RN, Advanced Practice Nurse

Dr. Richard L. Pantera, Neurologist

Kaweah Delta Health Care District was recently awarded the American Heart Association/American StrokeAssociation’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

To receive the Silver Quality Achievement award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for at least 12 consecutive months.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. They focus on appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs, preventive action for deep vein thrombosis and smoking cessation counseling.