University Hospital re-verified as Level I Trauma Center

Monday, July 18, 2011 | 7:00 p.m. CDT; updated 9:18 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 18, 2011

COLUMBIA — University Hospital has been re-verified by the American College of Surgeons as a Level I Trauma Center.

A Level I trauma certification is the highest national designation a hospital can receive. University Hospital is one of three Level I Trauma Centers in the state, Matt Splett, MU Health Care spokesman said.

Trauma Center Levels

In the United States, trauma centers are ranked by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), from Level I (comprehensive service) to Level III (limited care). The different levels refer to the kinds of resources available in a trauma center and the number of patients admitted yearly.

Below are some of the criteria used by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma to differentiate between Level I, II and III Trauma Centers.

Level I

A Level I Trauma Center provides the highest level of surgical care to trauma patients. It has a full range of specialists and equipment available 24 hours a day and admits at least 1,200 severely injured patients a year, which is the minimum required annual volume. A Level I Trauma Center is also required to have a certain number of surgeons and emergency physicians on duty 24 hours a day at the hospital.

Level II

A Level II Trauma Center works in collaboration with a Level I center. These institutions are not required to have an ongoing program of research or a surgical residency program like a Level I institution.

Level III

A Level III Trauma Center does not have the full availability of specialists but does have resources for emergency resuscitation, surgery and intensive care of most trauma patients. A Level III center has transfer agreements with Level I or Level II Trauma Centers to provide back-up resources and care of severely injured patients. 

“We are proud to be recognized among the elite trauma centers in the country who have achieved Level I status,” James Kessel said in a news release. Kessel is the medical director of University Hospital’s Frank L. Mitchell Jr., MD, Trauma Center.

Each year between 1,200 to 1,500 trauma patients are treated at the hospital, Splett said.

“Mid-Missouri residents should take comfort in knowing that if they are involved in an accident, University Hospital’s trauma team is nationally recognized for providing the highest standard of trauma care,” Stephen Barnes, chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery at University Hospital, said in the release.

The Committee on Trauma’s verification program was created to develop trauma centers that follow patients from the time they get to the hospital to the time they leave.  

The verification process entails an on-site review of the hospital wherein the committee assesses relevant features of the program. According to the American College of Surgeon's website, these features include commitment, readiness, resources, policies, patient care and performance improvement.

University Hospital goes through the process every three years. The next scheduled re-verification is in 2014.

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