University Medical Center, already designated a Level 1 trauma center by the Arizona Department of Health Services, received word last week that its Level 1 status has been confirmed by the American College of Surgeons Verification Review Committee through November 2011.
A team of physicians from the national verification committee reviewed UMC's trauma program during site visits in November and June. They verified that UMC meets the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance as outlined by the ACS Committee on Trauma's "Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient" manual.
"We continue to hit milestones to improve trauma service to the community of Tucson and southern Arizona. We are proud that our patients have some of the best outcome results compared to national and regional benchmarks. Our survival rates are well above the national standards and recently ranked in the top 10," said Dr. Peter Rhee, medical director of the UMC Trauma Center and professor and chief of the Section of Trauma, Critical Care and Emergency Surgery in The University of Arizona department of surgery.
A Level I trauma center must demonstrate that it provides not only the hospital resources necessary to treat injured patents, but also the entire spectrum of trauma care, from the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process, said Michelle Ziemba, RN, UMC's director of emergency and trauma services.
A Level 1 trauma center provides the highest level of surgical care to trauma patients. It must have surgeons and anesthesiologists on duty 24 hours a day at the hospital and prompt availability of specialists in orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, emergency medicine, radiology, internal medicine, oral and maxillofacial surgery and critical care.
Level 1 trauma centers also must have a program of research, be a leader in trauma education and injury prevention and serve as a referral source for communities in nearby regions, Ziemba said.
UMC is the only Level 1 trauma center in Southern Arizona and treats approximately 5,000 injured patients annually, making it the busiest trauma center in Arizona. Last month UMC opened a vastly enlarged trauma center and emergency department following three years of construction.
The acre-sized facility roughly doubles the size of the hospital's previous emergency department and trauma center.