Prisma Health extends stroke care and services with new Primary Stroke Center certifications for Hillcrest and Laurens County hospitals

October 28, 2021

Prisma Health has extended its stroke care and services in the Upstate with two more of its community hospitals – Hillcrest Hospital and Laurens County Hospital – being recently designated as Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission.

Prisma Health offers more primary and advanced stroke centers than any other healthcare system in South Carolina. In the Upstate, it has an advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center at Greenville Memorial Hospital as well as Primary Stroke Centers at Hillcrest, Laurens County, Oconee Memorial and Greer Memorial hospitals. In the Midlands, it has an advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center at Richland Hospital.

According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, stroke is one of the top five leading causes of death in South Carolina. The state is part of the “stroke belt,” a group of Southeastern states with high stroke death rates.

“Time is critical when it comes to a stroke, and having this network of stroke centers allows us to provide advanced stroke care and better outcomes for our patients – especially given the high rate of strokes throughout the state,” said Dr. Joseph Hanna, neurologist and medical director of Prisma Health’s Comprehensive Stroke Program in the Upstate. “We strive to provide the very best in stroke care across all of our facilities in the state. Obtaining this certification for two additional hospitals is evidence that we have a dedicated team of experts who take pride in our stroke care, services and treatments,” he said.

“Recognition as a certified facility is a testament to our commitment to provide exceptional care to our stroke patients by demonstrating a higher standard of clinical services,” said Scott Jones, chief executive officer of Hillcrest Hospital. “Our ability to continuously strive for excellence improves patient outcomes and strengthens our community’s confidence in the quality and safe care we provide.”

Justin Benfield, chief executive officer at Laurens County Hospital, said, “This certification is just one example of how Laurens County Hospital is bringing the highest quality of care to the communities we serve. Our relentless pursuit of excellence is creating necessary access to stroke care through continuous improvement to ensure our community can be cared for safely and close to home.”

Some of the conditions treated at Prisma Health’s six stroke centers include:

  • Ischemic stroke – reduced blood flow due to a blood clot
  • Hemorrhagic stroke – reduced blood supply due to a blood vessel bursting
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – “mini-stroke”
  • Cerebral aneurysm – a spot on an artery in the brain that protrudes out and fills with blood

The mission of The Joint Commission is to continuously improve healthcare for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating healthcare organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. Certification by The Joint Commission designates the facility in many ways including:

  • Shows that the facility has been recognized for excellence in the care of patients who have had strokes.
  • Assists organizations in establishing a consistent approach to care and reducing variation and the risk of error.
  • Demonstrates commitment to a higher standard of clinical service.
  • Provides a framework to improve patient outcomes.
  • Helps to organize teams across the continuum of care.
  • Strengthens community confidence in the quality and safety of care, treatment and services.

For more information on Prisma Health’s stroke care and services, visit


About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 acute and specialty hospitals, 2,947 beds and more than 300 outpatient sites with nearly 2,000 physicians, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Prisma Health’s goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. Visit for more information.