Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death for persons in Iowa from 1 to 44 years of age and is often the most common cause of hospitalization. The cost of injuries is staggering, costing billions of dollars in health care and social support services. An estimated 30,000 Iowans are rushed each year to hospitals for emergency evaluation and treatment due to injury. This costs Iowans in increased medical expense and lost time in work and wages.
The 1995 state legislative session established the Iowa Trauma Care System Development Act. It designated the Iowa Department of Public Health through its Bureau of Emergency Medical Services as the lead agency for trauma care system development and implementation. Iowa's trauma system went "on-line" January 1, 2001.
The goal of Iowa's trauma system is to match the injured patient's needs to existing resources so optimal and cost-effective care is achieved. A systems approach to trauma care involved the collaboration of health-care providers across the continuum of care extending from prevention, to acute care, through rehabilitation. This system approach will reduce costs, disability, and death associated with traumatic injury. All hospitals, transporting ambulance service programs, and rehabilitation centers are participating in Iowa's trauma system, which makes it an all-inclusive system.
Buena Vista Regional Medical Center has successfully completed the categorization and re-verification process to be re-certified as a Community (Level IV) trauma care facility. Hospitals must re-apply every three years to participate in Iowa's trauma system.
Iowa's trauma system is designed to assure that all people throughout the state have access to an organized delivery system for trauma care and that critically injured patients are rapidly stabilized and provided with the appropriate resources necessary to care for their injuries. Iowa's trauma care system is an "all-inclusive" system involving out-of-hospital emergency medical services (EMS) providers and hospital medical providers throughout the state. The system also assists ambulance service programs in determining appropriate trauma care facility destination based upon the patient's condition and travel time.
Leading the BVRMC categorization and re-verification process was Dr. Jason Dierking, MD, Trauma Service Medical Director, and Joan Prach, RN, BSN, Director of ER and ICU.