IU Health Bloomington Hospital has been verified as a level III trauma facility by the American College of Surgeon’s Committee on Trauma.
The verification makes IU Health Bloomington the only level III trauma facility in the region. Before, the closest verified hospitals were IU Health Methodist Hospital and Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis.
“There’s a shortage of trauma centers in the state of Indiana,” IU Health Bloomington’s Trauma Medical Director Jason Kennard said.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, there are five verified level III trauma centers in the state and six more in the process of ACS verification, which is what Indiana relies on to evaluate trauma centers.
To receive the verification, IU Health Bloomington applied to have a consultative visit from the American College of Surgeons. The institution sent representatives to look at deficiencies within the hospital’s trauma department and suggest ways to improve.
After the initial visit, the hospital worked for 12 months to bring everything up to standard, Kennard said. They applied for the official verification visit soon after.
The official visit consisted of two days of intensive review. Kennard said there are a little more than 230 criteria hospitals have to meet to achieve the ACS verification. These include things like having an emergency physician available 24 hours a day, a blood center that can dispense blood in a certain amount of time, and the ability to have a trauma surgeon at a patient’s bedside within 30 minutes.
IU Health Bloomington Hospital passed the official verification without any deficiencies, Kennard said.
“This puts us on the level of every other trauma center in the nation,” he said.
Access to a trauma center is important for people facing life-threatening injuries. Studies by the Indiana State Department of Health show mortality rates can be reduced as much as 15-25 percent when people are treated at a verified trauma center.
And injuries are common in the state — it’s the leading cause of death for Hoosiers age 1-44 and the fifth leading cause of death overall.
As of August 2016, 81 percent of the state’s population had access to trauma care within a 45 minute driving distance. IU Health Bloomington’s new verification means that Bloomington and Monroe County residents can join that percentage.
IU Health and the Bloomington Hospital Foundation supported the verification with $300,000 in equipment, including a bedside ultrasound, portable X-rays, bladder scanner and improved patient monitoring equipment.
The hospital’s verification is valid through January 12, 2020.