You know you’ve made a lot of visits to the emergency department when they greet you by name when you arrive and you remember theirs. This isn’t small town, everyone knows everyone, this is you’ve been there before, several, maybe too many times. Don’t ask how I know this!
The National Center for Health Statistics says that 41.9 out of 100 people visited an emergency department in 2013. One can only assume that the 9/10ths of a person suffered an extreme trauma and, if that was the case, one can hope that they were transported to Bonner General Health.
On February 14, BGH became the fourth Critical Access Hospital in the state of Idaho to be designated a Level IV Trauma Center by the Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency (TSE) Council of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. This designation process was approved by the 2014 Idaho Legislature and addresses three of the top five causes of deaths in Idaho, trauma, stroke and heart attack.
“Studies show that organized systems of care improve patient outcomes, reduce the frequency of preventable death, and improve the quality of life of the patient,” the TSE’s website (www.tse.idaho.gov) states.
“The TSE program creates a seamless transition between each level of care and integrates existing community resources to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. It will get the patient to the right place in the right time to the right care,” they say.
In a recent press release, Erin Binnall, Community Engagement Specialist at BGH says “The purpose of these systems of care is to reduce the time to reach healthcare intervention for patients experiencing time sensitive emergencies. Decreasing this time from onset to treatment is important to patient health outcomes and decreased mortality rates.
“Bonner General Health Emergency Department collaborates with prehospital partners who can activate the specially trained trauma response team in the Emergency Department before the patient even arrives at the hospital.”
The TSE Council is made up of governor-appointed health care providers, EMS agencies and administrators of hospitals representing both urban and rural populations. They’re responsible for establishing the rules and standards for the TSE system.
Their guiding principles are to: apply nationally accepted evidence-based practices to time sensitive emergencies; ensure that standards are adaptable to all facilities wishing to participate; ensure that designated centers institute a practiced, systematic approach to time sensitive emergencies; reduce morbidity and mortality from time sensitive emergencies, and design an inclusive system for sensitive emergencies.
Binnall said that there are special requirements that must be met to be designated as a Level IV Trauma Center, including strenuous quality monitoring and extensive staff training and certifications. The three member survey team evaluated all aspects of trauma care including staff and physician trauma training levels, trauma equipment, facilities, and supplies on hand, and toured the Emergency Department, Laboratory, Blood Bank, Surgical Services, Intensive Care Unit, and Diagnostic Imaging Departments. The survey team identified zero deficiencies.
“This designation is a culmination of the extraordinary work by our team of physicians, hospital staff and our EMS providers and their shared goal of providing the best possible trauma care to our community. I am so proud of the dedication to quality patient care that our team demonstrates each and every day,” Sheryl Rickard, BGH’s CEO said.
In a report written by Trauma Medical Directors Bill Morgan, MD and Brian O’Byrne, MD they said that the Idaho Trauma System allows for regional coordination of often scarce resources.
“Trauma systems, both state and regional, provide a way to optimize trauma care by providing continuing medical education, prevention outreach, research, and quality assurance standardization to ensure the system provides the best services available.”
They said that the system not only improves cost effectiveness, but also reduces the incidence of inappropriate or inadequate trauma care, prevents unnecessary suffering and reduces the personal and societal burden resulting from trauma.
“This designation did not change the level of care provided,” Binnall wrote, “but it allows the community to be aware of the trauma capabilities available at Bonner General Health and improves communication among healthcare partners responding to these emergencies.”
Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at 264-4029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.