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Coghill Bill to Incentivize Hospitals, Medical Centers to Become Certified Trauma Centers Passes Legislature

JUNEAU – Legislation that would provide state dollars to incentivize medical facilities to become certified to better respond to trauma emergencies has unanimously passed the State Senate.  It previously passed the House of Representatives, also unanimously. The bill, HB 168, was introduced by Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, when he was a member of the House last year. In the House, the bill has been championed by Bethel Rep. Bob Herron, co-chair of the House Health and Social Services committee.

“A good trauma system is an organized, multidisciplinary response to treatment of severely injured people,” Coghill said. “It spans the full spectrum from prevention to emergency care and recovery. A trauma system should increase the chances of survival by having designated and qualified first responders, and hospitals and doctors that are well-coordinated throughout our state.”

Coghill noted that the nearest level 1 trauma care center is Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The highest level maintained in Alaska is the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, a level 2 facility.

“We were looking for a way to encourage hospitals and other medical facilities to get certified at a certain level to respond to trauma incidents, so HB 168 provides that incentive,” Coghill said. “The bill would establish a fund that could be accessed by hospitals if they get the highest level of trauma designation possible. The fund could help in defraying the cost of emergency room staffing and doctor agreements that are critical to a higher level trauma designation.”

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