The first and only Level I trauma center in South Dakota is the Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls.
“I think what’s really important to recognize about this achievement for us is that the American College of Surgeons has set a bar really, really high and we’ve achieved that bar with this Level I designation,” said Paul Hanson, Sanford Sioux Falls president and CEO.
“It really takes a team,” trauma director Paul Bjordahl, M.D., added. “It’s a marker of not only a busy and comprehensive trauma program but it’s a marker of really a quality hospital. It means we have a dedication toward quality improvements and making sure that the right care is delivered to the right patients consistently.”
Level I is the highest a hospital can reach.
“Being the only Level I verified trauma center in the state is going to be huge for attracting new clinicians as well as patients to our center,” emergency medicine specialist Abigail Polzin, M.D., said.
“There’s nothing else like the care we provide here at Sanford and now we have this nationally accepted verification to prove it.”
‘As good as it gets’
Sanford Health earned the verification following an extensive survey showcasing team members from multiple disciplines at the top of their fields.
“When people talk about their Level I trauma center, many providers who never take care of injured patients use that as a marker of what is a big hospital, a comprehensive hospital, that has lots of resources and provides around the clock, 24/7/365 care,” Dr. Bjordahl said.
Dr. Polzin added, “When the patient arrives, they’re transferred to our trauma team here and they’re greeted by an array of subspecialists that follow them to the operating room, to the hospital floor, into their rehab stay and beyond.”
Whether you live in Sioux Falls or in rural South Dakota, you now have quick access to first-class health care wherever you are.
“You’re able to access telemedicine physicians as well as our skilled air medical transport team to provide Level I services even in the rural facilities,” Dr. Polzin said.
Hanson pointed out, “The level of care can be provided much sooner than (for) patients that would have to fly to Minneapolis, Denver or Chicago. They can stay right here in Sioux Falls.”
“As the only Level I trauma center in South Dakota, I think our patients can expect that they don’t need to go elsewhere to receive comprehensive care, and this is really as good as it gets,” Dr. Bjordahl said.
In addition to acute care responsibilities, Level I trauma centers are providing leadership in education, research and system planning.
“Seeking to achieve the highest level, the highest standard of care that we can provide to our patients is important to us. It’s part of the core of who we are,” Hanson said.
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