Maine Medical Center is first Level 1 Trauma Center in state
June 13, 2007
Maine Medical Center has become one of less than 100 verified adult Level 1 trauma centers in the United States. The Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons reviewed the program and verified its status last month. MMC joins two verified Level 2 centers as part of Maine's statewide trauma system.
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A Level 1 trauma center functions both as a community resource and as a regional referral resource, providing a full range of services and equipment available 24 hours a day - including around-the-clock neurosurgical, orthopedic, surgical specialty, and surgical intensive care coverage - and admits a minimum required annual number of severely injured patients. In addition, a Level 1 center must have a commitment to the development of trauma care within the region, and must be a leader in trauma system development, provider education, trauma research, community outreach, and injury prevention.
"Trauma care is a critical component of the community safety net, along with emergency medical services, fire, and police protection," said Robert Winchell, MD, Head of Trauma and Burn Surgery at MMC . "Maintaining the standards for trauma center verification requires a strong institutional commitment, a large financial commitment, and the dedicated participation of skilled professionals from many disciplines. It truly takes an entire hospital to make it happen."
Robert Winchell, MD, Head of Trauma and Burn Surgery, speaks at the press conference announcing Maine Medical Center's Level 1 Trauma Center designation on June 13, 2007.
"Maine is fortunate to have not only a Level 1 trauma center, but also two Level 2 trauma centers working cooperatively as part of a statewide system," Dr. Winchell says. "Though there is still much work to be done to develop the state system, people in Maine have better access to high-level trauma care than those in many other states."
In many states, the number of trauma centers per 1 million population is significantly lower than in Maine. A study in 2003 showed Maine with 2.35 trauma centers per million population. At the same time, Maryland had just 1.32 centers per million people, Massachusetts had only 0.79 centers per million people, and California had just 1.21 centers per million people.
Time is of the essence in the care of the most critically injured. A 2005 study reported that 78.9% of Maine people lived within one hour of a Level 1 or Level 2 trauma center. This is slightly below the national average of 84.1%, which includes highly urban states which typically have very high percentages. Maine compares favorably to more rural states with similar population density, where the average is 60.4%.
MMC is looking forward to opening its helipad by the end of this year, which will bring Level 1 trauma care that much closer to Maine people.
"This is a big day for Maine Medical Center, and more importantly for Maine people who may need emergency trauma services," says Vincent S. Conti, President and Chief Executive Officer of Maine Medical Center. "This verification represents very significant investments in trauma care here at MMC, investments we've made to build on our already long-standing trauma service capabilities. Along with the other critical components of the state's emergency medical and trauma systems, these investments ensure that Maine citizens and visitors have access to a full range of trauma services, whenever and wherever they are needed."
Improved access to top-level trauma care and expansion of surge capacity have been areas of increasing concern nationwide, in light of the need to be prepared for natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
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