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Upstate earns re-verification as level 1 trauma center

Upstate University Hospital and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital have been re-verified 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 that these centers provide. It also reflects their commitment to providing the community with the highest standard of trauma care.

The re-verification comes at a time when overall trauma cases are on the rise. Last year, Upstate University Hospital’s adult and pediatric trauma centers saw the second most cases in the state, according to Health Department statistics. This represented an increase of almost 4 percent over 2022 figures.

Nearly half of all pediatric trauma cases last year were related to falls, which were also the number one reason for an adult visit to the trauma center. Following falls, motor vehicle crashes, assaults and motorcycle crashes were common mechanisms of injury in the adult population. Child abuse accounted for 10 percent of the pediatric trauma population, and other common injuries were related to animal bites, vehicle crashes, play equipment and sports injuries.

To be verified, trauma centers must meet stringent criteria that demonstrate the hospital’s trauma care capabilities, as specified by the ACS. Successful verification signifies that the trauma center has complied with all of the standards.

Level 1 verification is the highest level that a trauma center can achieve. As a verified level 1 trauma center for both adults and children, Upstate delivers the highest quality of care to injured patients.

During the rigorous verification process, hospitals undergo an exhaustive review of more than 100 standards performed by a team of trauma care experts using the current ACS Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual as a guide. Site reviewers meet with leaders of the many departments involved in caring for trauma patients and tour the hospitals’ facilities.

Additionally, they review multiple indicators of care, including quality data and reports, surgical expertise, nursing expertise, access to specialty care, timeliness to interventions (surgical and non-surgical) and access to rehabilitation services. Reviewers also assess the ability of the hospital’s trauma team—Emergency Department physicians, nurses, surgeons, respiratory therapists, laboratory and radiology technicians, ICU staff, social workers and spiritual care staff—to mobilize quickly when a trauma call comes into the hospital. Level 1 trauma centers are exceptional in that they combine multi-disciplinary expertise in one place, ensuring optimal care for the most severely injured patients. 

The site reviewers also highlighted both the professional education programs offered by the trauma teams and also the significant public outreach. Programs such as “Let’s Not Meet By Accident” (a reality-based trauma prevention/alcohol education program for the new teen drivers), the Violence Education Prevention Program, Stop the Bleed, and the bicycle helmet program that gives away several thousand free bike helmet annually, provide trauma education to hundreds of individuals and families who participate throughout the year.

As re-verified Level 1 trauma centers, Upstate University Hospital and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital remain at the forefront of trauma care, providing 24/7 access for patients suffering from life-threatening injuries. Their multidisciplinary team of trauma surgeons, emergency physicians, nurses and support staff stand ready to respond swiftly and effectively to trauma-related emergencies. 

The trauma center verifications last until December 2026.