FARGO, N.D. –- Sanford Medical Center Fargo has cleared the final hurdle to be verified a Level I Adult Trauma Center. This verification is awarded by the American College of Surgeons. Level I is the highest level of trauma care and recognizes Sanford Health’s dedication to raising its level of services for injured patients.
This achievement makes Fargo, North Dakota, the only city with a Level I Adult Trauma Center between Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver and Omaha, Nebraska. It acknowledges that the trauma center is capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury –- from prevention through rehabilitation.
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 must admit at least 1,200 trauma patients a year. In 2017, the trauma center admitted more than 1,500 patients that met the established criteria. Historically, it has been the region’s busiest emergency center.
“This verification has been years in the making as we aimed to offer the next phase of care for our region. We invested millions of dollars by adding medical specialties not previously offered in this area, built a new emergency center to best serve injured patients and put an emphasis on research and technology,” said Nate White, Sanford Fargo president. “Patients can stay in their hometown hospitals until they need care that’s not available locally, and when that happens they can come to Fargo versus Minneapolis or Denver. It’s a huge step forward in keeping families close to home.”
Sanford Fargo provides level I trauma care for a broad region of the upper Midwest including North Dakota, parts of Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana.
“This accomplishment would not have been possible without an incredible team effort,” said Steven Briggs, M.D., Sanford Fargo trauma medical director. “It is a testament to the dedication we have for the people of this region and providing them with the highest level of care.”
Trauma center details
Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1987, the Committee on Trauma’s Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients.
A level I trauma center is required to have a certain number of surgeons and anesthesiologists, specialty services and other services on duty 24/7.
Qualifications met to achieve this verification include:
- Provide 24-hour medical coverage by general surgeons and prompt availability to specialties such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, hand surgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial, pediatric, interventional radiology, critical care and many other services along a full spectrum of surgical and medical specialists
- Provide orthopedic care overseen by an individual who has completed a fellowship in orthopedic traumatology
- Maintain a surgically directed ICU service
- Train surgical residents
- Serve as a referral source to regional communities
- Provide leadership in prevention through public education
- Provide continuing education for trauma team members
- Incorporate a comprehensive quality improvement program
- Help direct new innovations in trauma care through a successful trauma research program
- Serve specific volumes of severely injured patients
Such centers are also required to have a rigorous performance-improvement program, keep an extensive database and submit data to the National Trauma Data Bank. Sanford Health has the only trauma center in the region that has a dedicated trauma research program, which is also required for level I. Research topics extend beyond surgery studies to include traumatic emergencies, pain management, diversities in patient populations, rib fracture management and more.
In addition to this verification, Sanford Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital in Fargo has been verified as a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center since 2014.
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