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Excellent, again: Upstate earns another three-year verification as Level 1 trauma center for adults and children

Excellent, again: Upstate earns another three-year verification as Level 1 trauma center for adults and children

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Upstate University Hospital and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital have received their second consecutive verification as an adult and pediatric Level 1 trauma center by a special committee of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in recognition of the optimal trauma care the center provides patients. Upstate was informed of the verification by the ACS June 6.

In 2014, Upstate became the first trauma center in New York to receive the national verification by the ACS.

The reverification as Level 1 trauma centers for adults and children followed an intensive two-day onsite review by medical experts in the trauma field. They reviewed information related to patient outcomes, physician and nurse training and credentialing, facilities, trauma education and outreach, staffing and administrative functions.

The three-year verification was awarded to Upstate by the Verification Review Committee, an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons.

“Reverification of our Level 1 trauma center status reaffirms our commitment to providing the highest level of quality trauma care to the Central New York community,” said Steven M Scott, interim chief executive officer of Upstate University Hospital. “ I am grateful to, and appreciative of, the members of our trauma team for their dedication in providing this singular service which ensures our patients have the best opportunity for complete recovery from any traumatic injury.  It is just one of the many services at Upstate University hospital upon which you can trust.”

The state has designated trauma centers previously, but in 2014 Upstate underwent a national review of Upstate’s pediatric and adult trauma services.

“To again earn the American College of Surgery’s verification of our Trauma Center is significant,” said William Marx, MD, medical director of Upstate’s Trauma Services. “It’s a stamp of approval that recognizes everything we do from the moment we receive a call of an incoming trauma patient to the moment that individual is discharged. The verification even goes beyond elements associated with our patient care to recognize our community outreach efforts, such as ‘Stop the Bleed’ program and our Violence Education Prevention Outreach Program, which are designed to lessen harm and keep people safe.”

Thomas Welch, MD, medical director of Golisano Children’s Hospital, applauded the recognition. “Our pediatric trauma care has met another national milestone as we have been re-verified as a Level 1 Trauma Center for pediatrics by the American College of Surgeons,” Welch said. “No one else in our region provides this level of care for our youngest patients. This re-verification of our status as a Level 1 Trauma Center for pediatrics indicates that the complex trauma care we offer here is on par with major national trauma centers. Our commitment to the region’s children and families ensures they that have access to experts and expert care no matter what their injury or when they arrive in our trauma center.”

Pediatric Trauma Medical Director Kim Wallenstein, MD, PhD, said the reverification singles out the importance of the hospital’s ability to treat pediatric trauma cases. “The re-verification of our pediatric trauma program for our Level 1 trauma center is significant in that it confirms that we have the staff, programs and protocols in place to treat children involved in trauma and to provide them with optimal care,” she said. "For our youngest patients and their families, the commendation by the American College of Surgeons is evidence of our commitment to serving the community with the highest level of care."

Among other items assessed by the onsite review team, was the ability of Upstate’s trauma team--emergency department physicians, nurses, surgeons, respiratory therapists, lab technicians, ICU staff and social workers, spiritual care staff--to mobilize quickly when a trauma call comes into the hospital.
ACS highlighted the various physician specialties on call to respond to pediatric trauma cases, including neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons as well as specialists in cardiology, infectious disease, pulmonary medicine and nephrology.

As noted earlier, the reverification report also highlights not only the professional education programs offered by the trauma team, but the significant public outreach, most notably the “Let’s Not Meet By Accident” program (a reality based trauma prevention/alcohol education program for new teen drivers), the Violence Education Prevention Program, Stop the Bleed and the bicycle helmet program that gives away several thousand free bike helmets annually. Hundreds of individuals and families participate in these programs throughout the year.

The trauma service serves a 14-county region and facilitates transports from ambulance and first aid crews from all across the region. In 2016, 2,602 adults were admitted to Upstate with traumatic injuries. The most common injuries were from falls (1,408) and motor vehicle crashes (408).  Additionally, the trauma service receives between 200 and 275 air transports annually.

The designation as a Level 1 trauma center signifies Upstate as a comprehensive regional resource that is a tertiary care facility central to the trauma system.

A Level I trauma center is capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury - from prevention through rehabilitation.
Elements of Level I trauma centers include:

-        24-hour in-house coverage by general surgeons, and prompt availability of care in specialties such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, internal medicine, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial, pediatric and critical care.

-        Referral resource for communities in nearby regions.

-        Provides leadership in prevention, public education to surrounding communities.

-        Provides continuing education of the trauma team members.

-        Incorporates a comprehensive quality assessment program.

-        Operates an organized teaching and research effort to help direct new innovations in trauma care.

-        Program for substance abuse screening and patient intervention.

-        Meets minimum requirement for annual volume of severely injured patients.

Established by the ACS in 1987, the Committee on Trauma (COT) and Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

Verified trauma centers must meet essential criteria that ensure trauma care and institutional performance.

The ACS Committee on Trauma’s verification program does not designate trauma centers.  Rather, the program provides confirmation that a trauma center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured patients. The actual establishment and the designation of trauma centers is the function of local, regional or state health care systems agencies, such as local emergency medical services (EMS) authority.

There are five separate categories of verification in the program. Each category has specific criteria that must be met by a facility seeking that level of verification.  Each hospital has an on-site review by a team of experienced site reviewers, who use the current Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual as a guideline in conducting the survey.

The ACS is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of the surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The ACS has more than 72,000 members and it is the largest association of surgeons in the world.  Longstanding achievements have placed the ACS in the forefront of American surgery and have made it an important advocate for all surgical patients.

Caption: Kim Wallenstein, MD, PhD, pediatric trauma medical director, said of the reverification: “For our youngest patients and their families, the commendation by the American College of Surgeons is evidence of our commitment to serving the community with the highest level of care.”