UCHealth’s Memorial Hospital North is now a Level III trauma center, a status designated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that enables the hospital to accept trauma patients from emergency medical service crews and provide life-saving care for residents of northern El Paso County.

“This trauma designation is just one of many enhancements to health care services at Memorial Hospital North,” George Hayes, president and CEO of Memorial said in a news release. ” We recently opened a cardiac catheterization lab and will soon open a radiation oncology facility at our north campus, ensuring that patients in this area have access to the very best care.”

Dr. Keyan Riley, Memorial Hospital North’s trauma medical director, explained the different levels of trauma certification.

“There are four levels designated by the state, plus a non-designated level. Level I centers have the most resources available for care of patients. The only places that have those centers are in Denver,” Riley said. “Level II provides the same level of care, but maybe not as many other services, like research and education, and maybe a few specialists who won’t be in-house. … The more severe injuries and ones who will be a long time in the [Intensive Care Unit] are patients who will go to level I or II trauma centers. We can take a lot of the patients who would normally go to level I or II [facilities] and keep them here and care for them on the north side of town.”

The health department awarded this designation after a thorough inspection by state officials and other medical personnel, allowing the hospital to begin accepting trauma patients at midnight Oct. 7.

Riley said preparations have been ongoing during the past 18 months and “in earnest” the past several months.

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“During the state review, we passed with no reservations, so we’re a provisional Level III center for the next year. They’ll come back and review in a year, and that’s standard procedure,” he said. “They’ll evaluate and make sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to, and hopefully the designation will be in place for a three-year term and we’ll be re-evaluated every three years.”

According to Carolle Anne Banville, trauma services director for Memorial, key elements of a Level III trauma center include 24-hour immediate coverage by emergency medicine physicians and the prompt availability of general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists and a heart catheterization lab.

“A Level III trauma center demonstrates the ability to provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, stabilization of injured patients and high-quality emergency operations,” Banville said. “This trauma center represents our commitment to patients and to providing advanced care, close to home.”

The hospital has added providers, emergency services and provided additional training for staff to meet and exceed the Level III trauma center requirements.

“I am proud of Memorial’s excellent nurses, emergency physicians, trauma surgeons and staff because it has taken a true team effort to reach this point,” said Dr. Patrick O. Faricy, chief medical officer at Memorial. “Of course, we’re not providing these services just to be named a Level III trauma center. We’re providing these services because we know they will save lives in the communities we serve.”

Memorial Hospital Central is currently a Level II trauma center; three hospitals in Colorado — all in metro Denver — have adult Level 1 trauma capabilities.

 

The trauma team is comprised of the following newly hired specialties:

– Trauma medical director

– Trauma surgeon team (5-7 employees)

– Trauma system director

– Trauma program manager

– Registry support (20 hours/week)

– Injury prevention support coordinator

– Emergency department trauma liaison

 

Also hired for house-wide preparedness:

– House supervisor coverage

– Hospitalist

– Additional technicians for blood banks and radiology