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Stroke System of Care Task Force


In its 2009 session, the North Dakota Legislature passed HB 1339. This bill required the Department of Health to establish a Stroke System of Care Task Force (SSoCTF) and assigned it with the responsibility of providing recommendations for and assisting in the implementation of a plan to establish a comprehensive, statewide, coordinated, efficient system along the continuum of care (prevention, assessment, transport, treatment and rehabilitation) for individuals suffering a stroke in North Dakota.

Consistent with that charge, a group of twelve individuals representing a broad-based constituency was selected and appointed by Dr. Terry Dwelle, State Health Officer, to serve as the North Dakota Stroke System of Care Task Force. In addition to the responsibilities of the task force members to represent their respective constituencies, efforts were ongoing to encourage openness and transparency, provide opportunities for public participation and input, and share information and materials in accessible media.

With a desire to improve the overall quality of care for stroke patients, from prevention of risk factors to the final stroke outcome, the task force:
  • Identified and defined its role and responsibilities as set forth in HB 1339 and directed by the state health officer.
  • Clarified its purpose and mission.
  • Reviewed relevant materials and information (state and national levels).
  • Established a set of critical and core values that it utilized in making decisions, forming its recommendations and setting the foundations for the Stroke System of Care.
  • Identified the barriers and challenges confronting the development, initiation and maintenance of a stroke system of care.
  • Developed and presented a set of preliminary recommendations.
  • Established a strategic plan that identified goals, specified the actions, responsible parties and time lines based upon the recommendations.

Purpose and Mission

To create and maintain an inclusive and coordinated statewide system of care and education that continuously improves the knowledge, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of stroke patients and reduces the overall stroke risk for all North Dakota citizens.

Critical Values

The Stroke System of Care (SSoC) Task Force identified the following seven critical values and agreed that they are integral to the development and maintenance of a quality system of care and recommended that they be recognized and incorporated into all facets of the North Dakota Stroke System of Care: 
  • Patient-Centered. The focus must always be on what is best for the patient.
  • Highest Levels of Quality. The state should always strive to meet or exceed the national standards of care.
  • Transparency. The process should be open to the citizens of the state and should invite their participation and involvement.
  • Equity. The SSoC should strive to ensure equal access and availability of services and treatment for all citizens of the state.
  • Good Stewardship. The recommendations should promote the effective, efficient utilization of the available resources to achieve the best outcomes possible.
  • Advocacy. The SSoC should identify the needs of all citizens at all levels of service and care, and should advocate for solutions that address those needs.
  • Respect. The SSoC Task Force recognizes the uniqueness and variety of roles and talents of its members and the community and will value and respect everyone.

SSoC Summary of Activities and Recommendations Report

The SSoC Task Force provides guidance and leadership, as well as develops the state plan, which is the basis of the work that the State Stroke Program does throughout North Dakota.  Click here to view the SSoC Summary of Activities and Recommendations Report.

SSoC Strategic Plan

The SSoC Task Force has been asked and agreed to assume an ongoing role in the development and implementation of the SSoC recommendations. To accomplish this, the Task Force has developed a strategic plan and will assist in developing a corresponding work plan that more specifically identifies the necessary action steps, timelines and performance measures and indicators of success. To view the SSoC Strategic Plan online, click here.


At the request of the SSoC Task Force, the Participating Hospital Advisory Council developed the ND Acute Stroke Transfer Protocol. The intent of this protocol is to provide consistent availability of current, evidenced-based treatment strategies in acute stroke care. Local hospitals are encouraged to use this protocol as a guide as they develop procedures to manage patients with acute stroke. The use of consistent and standard protocols can help clinicians provide better overall care with improved outcomes to stroke patients. To view, click on the link below.
             ND Acute Stroke Transfer Protocol