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Barton Hospital Achieves Level III Trauma Center Designation

Barton Hospital Achieves Level III Trauma Center Designation

South Lake Tahoe, CA – Barton Memorial Hospital has been designated a Level III trauma center by El Dorado County. This makes Barton Hospital the only trauma center in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and Carson Valley region.

This designation recognizes Barton Hospital as a critical access point where patients will receive an increase in depth and speed of care. Unlike other hospital facilities, trauma centers guarantee the resources for trauma care and the immediate availability of emergency medicine physicians, surgeons, nurses, lab and x-ray technicians, and life support equipment 24-hours a day.

“This achievement reaffirms the commitment our physicians, nurses, and staff have made to provide top-notch services to our community, including our most severely injured patients,” said Dr. Clint Purvance, Barton’s Chief Medical Officer. “We are equipped to stabilize any injury and, in most cases, comprehensively treat patients at the hospital.”

Trauma designation is a rigorous, but voluntary process. Verified Level III trauma centers must meet, at a minimum, more than 160 different essential criteria established by the Committee on Trauma (COT) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). All trauma designations require consultation and verification visits, education requirements, and a certification procedure. The facility designation is then certified by a local authorized entity. El Dorado County designated Barton Memorial Hospital on January 27, 2015.

“We have expanded our care team and our staff have undergone extensive emergency medicine training,” said Dr. Purvance. “It has been a lengthy process, and it is an honor to be distinguished as one of only a handful of trauma hospitals in northern California.”

Currently, there are 51 verified trauma centers in California. Only four Level III facilities in California are verified by the ACS, including two in El Dorado County (Barton Memorial Hospital and Marshall Medical Center).

California has six designations of trauma: Level I, II, III, and IV trauma centers as well as Level I and II Pediatric trauma centers. Levels I and II, primarily in urban areas, have a higher number of emergency personnel, and Level I centers require research and teaching facilities. As needed, a Level III trauma center has prior arrangements to transfer a patient to a Level I or II trauma center for more intensive care.

“As a designated trauma center, we not only treat severe injuries, but we also strive to keep people out of the Emergency Department,” said Cate Neal, Barton’s Trauma Program Coordinator at Barton Hospital. “In an ongoing effort to keep our community healthy and safe, we are expanding our community outreach and injury prevention programs.”

Injury prevention programs will be incorporated into a patient’s treatment plan. Programs include concussion awareness, alcohol prevention outreach, and physical therapy. Neal says, “the hope is to create an effective follow-up plan for each patient’s unique needs and, ultimately, reduce life-threatening incidents in our community.”

Barton Memorial Hospital has served the South Lake Tahoe community’s health care needs for over 50 years. Since the inception of the hospital in 1963, Barton Hospital has been fully accredited by The Joint Commission and the State of California. Recently, Barton Memorial Hospital was also identified as a 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission.

Trauma facility designation is a geopolitical process that only authorized entities, such as El Dorado County, can designate. The American College of Surgeons staff play an important role in the process by verifying the hospital achieves over 160 essential criteria listed in “Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient.” All trauma centers that successfully completed a verification visit are listed online: www.facs.org/search/trauma-centers.