Fulton County Hospital of Salem and Community Medical Center of Calico Rock are set to receive $25,000 each, under new state funding from the Arkansas Trauma System for education and/or equipment for the emergency departments.
Hospitals across the state have joined a state-wide network of hospitals, connected through a centralized call center. The news comes indirectly from Little Rock, on the heels of an announcement regarding the Trauma System by Gov. Mike Beebe in March 2009.
"It opens up the doors for state funds legislated for a level-four trauma system," Joe Hammond, administrator of Fulton County Hospital.
Community Medical Center of Calico Rock will also be classified level-four and be entitled to funds, said Angela Richmond, administrator for the Community Medical Center.
"The state-wide trauma system allows the medical teams responding to an accident or house call to provide their evaluation to a centralized trauma-system dispatch," Hammond said. "They are then able to transport the patient to the site most capable of meeting their immediate needs." Opening the lines of communication across the state will capitalize on every minute more efficient, which is paramount to the successful recovery of accident victims, Hammond said.
Prior to Act 393, the Arkansas Trauma Bill, when an ambulance would pick up a patient, they would transport that patient to the nearest facility. The decision of the best course of action would then be made by the attending physician, after the patient was at the hospital, Hammond said.
The existing training of EMTs and paramedics will be most efficiently utilized and evaluated by the central dispatch, he said. The centralized trauma system, along with the EMT, will make the decision on what course of action is the most effective.
"It's a major step forward for the state," Hammond said.
The Arkansas Department of Health-Trauma System sent out letters to the 86 hospitals in Arkansas asking what level each hospital would like to be designated as in theTrauma System.
"We got 68 letters of intent back," said Ed Barham, public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Health. "We have been in contact with those hospitals and met last Thursday." The Trauma System Council approved that list and now the list will go before the Arkansas Legislature committee, before the process of distributing grants.
"The first checks should be going out in November," Barham said. "We will be making site visits in the meantime to confirm the status of the hospitals."
The Trauma System is in the process of constructing a Request for Proposal for a 24-hour call center, centrally located in the state, to provide real-time communication between EMTs and hospitals around the state, Barham said.
"We would be able to find out if there was a neurosurgeon on staff at any hospital on the list and see which is the quickest one to take the patient to," he said.
The system will track each patient from initial treatment to the rehab from injury, by using a Trauma Registry facilities by the ADH.
"We are 18 months to two years from having all pieces in place," Barham said. "We are thrilled we will have so many hospitals on board."
Arkansas has averaged 26 deaths per 100,000 because of motor vehicle collisions, whereas the U.S. has averaged 14.5 per 100,000, according to a presentation from the ADH.