Hot Springs Designated Level II Trauma Center

November 14, 2011

St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center in Hot Springs, Ark., has been designated a Level II Trauma Center by the Arkansas Department of Health.

St. Joseph’s Mercy received the designation following a survey by the Arkansas Department of Health, which is administering a statewide trauma system for the first time. A trauma system is an organized and coordinated plan within the state that is integrated with the local public health system and delivers the full range of care to patients with severe or life-threatening injuries.

St. Joseph’s Mercy is one of only four Level II Trauma Centers in Arkansas and the only one in the 17-county southwest Arkansas region.

“We’re proud to be the region’s only Level II Trauma Center,” said St. Joseph’s Mercy President Tim Johnsen. “We understand how important this trauma system is to both our region and our state and we’re pleased to be a part of this life-saving program.”

The St. Joseph’s Mercy trauma program is directed by Trauma Medical Director and surgeon Dr. Stephen Halter, a trauma nurse coordinator and Dr. Douglas Ross, medical director of the Emergency and Trauma Center.

There are four levels of trauma designations for Arkansas hospitals, each denoting the type of resources available and the number of patients admitted yearly:

  • Level I: Comprehensive clinical care and community education, research and outreach;
  • Level II: Comprehensive clinical care;
  • Level III: Treatment of mild and moderate single system injuries
  • Level IV: Stabilization and transfer.

As a Level II Trauma Center, St. Joseph’s Mercy will provide comprehensive trauma care and supplement Level I institutions.

“It means that we have a trauma team ready and available 24 hours a day. We can handle any type of traumatic injury,” said Ron Woodard, trauma coordinator at St. Joseph’s Mercy.

The system was started due to alarming trauma statistics in the state. In 2006, there were more than 17,900 persons hospitalized for injuries, including 2,561 persons hospitalized for motor vehicle crashes. There were more than 2,000 injury-related deaths, including 1,410 due to motor vehicle crashes and 726 killed in an event involving a motor vehicle on a public highway.

According to America’s Health Rankings, Arkansas had the third worst status of early deaths, lives lost due to injury, illness, or causes other than old age.

Components of the trauma statewide trauma system include emergency medical services, designated trauma centers, trauma registry, rehabilitation facilities, physician specialists and nurses, and injury prevention and control programs.

For more information about the trauma system in Arkansas, visit www.healthy.arkansas.govor call the Arkansas Department of health at 501-683-0707.

St. Joseph’s Mercy is a not-for-profit, faith-based health facility with 27 medical clinics serving the healthcare needs of Hot Springs and its surrounding communities since 1888. It is designated as the southwest region’s only Level II Trauma Center and the region’s most preferred provider of health care services.

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