Elizabeth, N.J.--Trinitas Regional Medical Center is seeking formal Level II Trauma Center designation in response to the first official trauma call by the New Jersey Department of Health DOH in nearly 20 years. The Medical Center will submit its application to the DOH this week.
According to Gary S. Horan, FACHE, Trinitas President & CEO, the state of New Jersey has an excellent network of trauma centers, however, the City of Elizabeth is not represented.
“There are only four cities in the state with 100,000 or more residents: Elizabeth, Newark, Jersey City and Paterson. Elizabeth is the only one without a trauma center, despite a service area in terms of size and threat that equals or exceeds the others. In fact, the City is located in what has been widely described as the ‘most dangerous two miles in America,’ with an international airport, major shipping ports, chemical, and fuel manufacturing and a network of major highways,” Horan explained.
“Approval and designation of Trinitas as a Level II trauma center will give injured service area residents more rapid access to a higher level of quality trauma services. More importantly, it will save lives,” he added.
Accreditation for trauma services is provided by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Department of Health (DOH) which publishes exacting standards for care. “The required trauma team includes surgical and emergency department attending physicians, residents, fellows, advanced nurse practitioners, registered nurses and technicians – which actually describes the team we already have in place at Trinitas. Our designation as a Level II Trauma Center is a formality will carry no additional cost to the state,” Horan explained.
According to the American Trauma Society (ATS), the different levels (ie. Level I, II, III, IV or V) refer to the kinds of resources available to a trauma center and the number of patients admitted yearly. Level 1 is the highest designation given by the Society. A Level II Trauma Center is able to initiate definitive care for all injured patients. Elements of a Level II Trauma Center include 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons, as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care. The Level II center provides trauma prevention and continuing education programs for staff and incorporates a comprehensive quality assessment program.
There are currently three Level I Trauma Centers and six Level II Trauma Centers in New Jersey.
Trinitas meets American College of Surgeons (ACS) and Department of Health (DOH) trauma volume and other standards and has done so for a decade, according to Horan. “Trinitas qualifies for a Level II trauma center designation under both American College of Surgeons (ACS) criteria and the volume level requirements of 350 cases established in New Jersey by the State Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), clearly demonstrating a pressing community need,” he said.
The Emergency Department at Trinitas recently underwent an $18.7 million expansion that nearly doubled the number of treatment rooms from 27 to 45, added three Intensive Care Unit beds, and included state-of-the-art equipment including a 128-slice CT scanner.
“We already have the team in place, our facilities exceed all requirements, we see more than the required number of trauma cases, and we have all other elements of a Level II Trauma Center, but without the official designation,” Horan stated.
A final decision by the DOH is expected in February 2018.