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How trauma center designations began in Idaho

The Idaho State Legislature passed the proposal, and Governor Otter appointed 11 council members to the Time Sensitivity Emergency Council. (File Photo)

Just four years ago, Idaho didn't have a statewide structure to care for trauma situations and time sensitive emergencies.

Chairman of the Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency Council, Dr Bill Morgan says, "we sort of took care of the trauma that came to us from the different region, but there was no system throughout the state so say if you went to a critical access hospital and you were injured in a vehicle rollover it was kind of luck of the draw what hospital they would take you to.

Because of this luck of the draw standard of trauma medical services for some areas in Idaho, the Health Quality Planning Commission decided to change health care services for the citizens of Idaho.

"We put together a proposal to take to the state legislature for time sensitive emergencies for trauma, stroke and stemi emergency system throughout the state," Morgan says.

The Idaho State Legislature passed the proposal, and Governor Otter appointed 11 council members to the Time Sensitivity Emergency Council.

From there, 6 regions throughout the state were created, each with a seat on the council.

This group has helped create a functioning trauma center designation system for Idaho, overseen by Christian Surjan.

Surjan says, "Our mantra is to get the right patient to the right place at the right time. That really is the purpose of the TS. For the last year and a half we have had applications open for designation.

Trauma designation varies by statewide standards created by the TSE council.

These range from Level I to Level V trauma centers.

The higher level facilities treat more complex patients, whereas lower Level V facilities have the capability to identify, stabilize, and then transfer their trauma patients to a higher facility.

Saint Alphonsus is the highest designation in the state of Idaho at a Level II, serving all of southwestern Idaho.

Doctor Morgan says, " A level 2 trauma center is no different than a level one except that we don't have surgical residents and we don't send off research. We take care of the same criticality of patients that they do.

So, if a tragedy like Vegas were to happen here in our own backyard, Saint Al's says, they would be ready to take those in need of emergency trauma care.

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