ACH Designated State’s Only Pediatric Level I Trauma Center by Arkansas Department of Health

LITTLE ROCK, AR. (Nov. 22, 2010) – Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) has been designated by the Arkansas Department of Health as the state’s only pediatric Level I trauma center, an indication that it provides the highest standard of care for injured children.

ACH received the four-year designation – the maximum under state guidelines – after a review by the Arkansas Department of Health earlier this month. The achievement recognizes the hospital’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients in and around Arkansas, as well as its dedication to advancing trauma research, education, injury prevention and outreach.

“The Level I designation shows that Arkansas Children’s Hospital is determined to do whatever it takes to give children who are injured the very best chance for recovery,” said ACH President and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Bates, MD. “We’re ready to see more lives saved because of the changes made statewide under the new system.”

Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death for all Arkansans between the ages of 1 and 44, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Research has shown that states with a comprehensive trauma system reduce the number of fatalities and long-term disabilities caused by traumatic injuries.

The state Department of Health designation process is voluntary and performed at the request of hospitals to verify compliance with the rules and regulation of the Arkansas Trauma System. ACH’s review was conducted over a two-day period by a three-member team of national trauma experts who evaluated the hospital’s performance in all aspects of the care of injured children –  the pre-hospital arena, the ER, the operating room, the intensive care unit, the blood bank, and radiology and rehabilitation programs.  
The review panel noted several strengths that ACH offers as a trauma center and did not cite any deficiencies. The top-level designation by the Department of Health shows that Arkansas Children’s Hospital holds a critical place in the rapidly emerging Arkansas Trauma System.

ACH has made significant changes during the last year to bring its trauma care to Level I status. The state’s only comprehensive pediatric medical center created two new positions to oversee trauma care: trauma medical director and trauma nursing director. In addition, several nurse practitioners, coordinators, operating room staff and radiology personnel joined the hospital’s team. The hospital also has focused on extensive training for nurses in the Emergency Department, operating rooms and intensive care unit. Important national protocols for the care of injured children are now in place in those areas, as well.

“The survey process also helped us see ways to further strengthen our program and continue our progress on the path to becoming one of the national leaders in pediatric trauma care,” said ACH Trauma Nursing Director John Recicar. “The trauma team and hospital administration have worked hard to bring Arkansas Children’s Hospital to this point. More hard work lies ahead, all aimed at saving lives.”

Arkansas Children’s Hospital is seeking Level I verification in trauma care from the American College of Surgeons, as well. This designation is considered the highest national standard in trauma care. The hospital expects to apply for this review in 2011.

The Arkansas Trauma System was created by Act 393, which Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law in the spring of 2009. The Arkansas Department of Health has named three hospitals as Level I trauma centers under the new system, which has four levels of care designations. The Department of Health expects the system’s call center to be operational in 2011.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children. The campus spans 28 city blocks and houses 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. ACH recently ranked No. 85 on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit www.archildrens.org.

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