Patient Care

Mobile Stroke Unit Expands Operations to Monroe County

Aug. 21, 2019

 The UR Medicine Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) is now being dispatched to provide stroke care to patients throughout Monroe County. The MSU had been operating on a pilot basis in the City of Rochester since its launch in October 2018.

The MSU, which is operated in partnership with American Medical Response (AMR) and is the only unit of its kind in upstate New York, serves as an “emergency department on wheels” and brings the medical expertise and technology necessary to diagnose and treat stroke directly to the patient. Immediate care is essential during a stroke, during which millions of brain cells die every minute. However, if caught early, many stroke victims can make a full recovery. 

It is estimated that 3,000 people in Monroe County suffer from a stroke every year. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the number one cause of long-term disability in the U.S. 

UR Medicine Mobile Stroke Unit Expands Operations to Monroe County

The MSU is equipped with a portable CT scanner that scans the patient’s brain to determine the type of stroke they are experiencing. These scans and results from a mobile lab on the unit are transmitted to stroke experts at UR Medicine’s Comprehensive Stroke Center at Strong Memorial Hospital, who consult via an on board teleconferencing system with the EMS personnel and determine if treatment – in the form of the clot busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) – can be administered immediately on scene.

“The ability to diagnose and start care in a patient’s driveway is a game changer for our region,” said Tarun Bhalla, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Stroke and Cerebrovascular surgery at the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center and director of the Mobile Stroke Unit initiative. “We are grateful to our partners in the EMS community for their cooperation in making this lifesaving technology available to stroke patients across Monroe County.” 

“The sooner patients receive care, the more likely they are to return to their lives,” said Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of Stroke and Medical Director of the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center. “The time saved by delivering care directly to a stroke patient on scene can mean the difference between recovery of function or a lifetime of disability.”

The MSU is dispatched by the City of Rochester/Monroe County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center in coordination with the following EMS agencies:


  • Brighton Volunteer Ambulance
  • Churchville Fire Department Rescue Squad
  • CHS Mobile Integrated Health Care (Chili, Henrietta, Scottsville, Caledonia)
  • Gates Volunteer Ambulance
  • Greece Volunteer Ambulance
  • Hilton Fire Department Ambulance
  • Honeoye Falls-Mendon Volunteer Ambulance
  • Irondequoit Ambulance
  • Monroe Ambulance
  • Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support
  • Penfield Volunteer Emergency Ambulance Service
  • Perinton Ambulance
  • Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance
  • Point Pleasant Fire Department Ambulance
  • Rush Fire Department Ambulance
  • RIT Ambulance
  • Seabreeze Fire Department Ambulance
  • Union Hill Volunteer Ambulance
  • Webster Emergency Medical Services

“AMR is proud to partner with the University of Rochester and Monroe County to expand the available care options in Monroe County,” said Tim Frost, regional director for AMR Western New York. “We are focused on providing the best possible care for the communities we serve, and bringing this new technology to the area is a testament to that.”

“As the role of paramedics continues to evolve by providing advanced care at a patient’s home, on the highway, or wherever they may become ill or injured, we are fortunate to have the MSU as another resource for paramedics to call upon for patients suffering a stroke,” said Reg Allen, chief of CHS Mobile Integrated Health Care. “As technology advances so does the ever evolving pre-hospital continuum of care.” 

“Access to timely, high-quality pre-hospital health care is essential to the health and quality of life in our communities," said Jon Smith, director of operations, Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance. "Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance and the Pittsford Town Administration are committed to this mission, encouraging the development and early implementation of the MSU as a community resource.  We are excited to be a partner in the unique and dynamic MSU program and look forward to working cooperatively with the UR Medicine team to support enhanced care for stroke patients within our community.” 

The MSU is part UR Medicine’s commitment to provide state-of-the-art stroke care to the region. Strong Memorial Hospital is the region’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center designated by the Joint Commission/American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, a certification that indicates that the hospital either meets or exceeds the highest standards of care required to provide timely, advanced, and coordinated care to patients with cerebrovascular disease. UR Medicine’s F.F. Thompson, Highland Hospital, Noyes Memorial Hospital, and Jones Memorial Hospital are recognized by New York State as Primary Stroke Centers. Strong Memorial is home to the Neuromedicine Intensive Care Unit, a 12-bed ICU dedicated to providing care to critically ill patients with complex neurological life threating illnesses such as stroke. UR Medicine stroke specialists also provide 24/7 consultation services for emergency department personnel in 13 hospitals across upstate New York via telemedicine.