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Alaska’s Only Level II Trauma Center Retains Verification


February 18, 2010

Joint Release: Alaska Native Medical Center and Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

Alaska Native Medical Center only Level II Trauma Center in the state

Anchorage — The trauma center at Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) has been reverified as a Level II Trauma Center by the AmericanCollege of Surgeons (ACS). This achievement recognizes the hospital's dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients.

Becoming a trauma center — where patients who have been seriously injured can receive comprehensive care — requires a hospital to fulfill certain requirements, some of which can be quite costly.  A Level II center must have emergency doctors on hand at all times and surgeons on call and available within 15 minutes. In Alaska, only ANMC in Anchorage is designated as a Level II Trauma Center. ANMC serves as the trauma referral center for all of Alaska’s tribal health facilities. While the majority of ANMC’s services are reserved for beneficiaries of the Indian Health Service, the trauma center serves all people, regardless of race. Seriously injured Non-Native trauma patients may be taken to ANMC, if they are injured closest to ANMC or they need services unavailable at other facilities.

“We are very proud of our recent reverification of a Level II Trauma Center,” said Dr. Frank Sacco, the director of the trauma service at ANMC, and the chair of the Alaska Trauma Systems Review Committee. “Independent outside experts reviewed our care and the outcomes of our patients during the reverification visit and concluded that we are providing excellent care for our patients. While we feel a responsibility and commitment to care for any patient brought to us, we do not have the resources to be the trauma center for all Alaskans. We are supportive of having all hospitals in Alaska meet the criteria for designation as an appropriate level trauma facility.  We look forward to the time when we have an Alaskan trauma system that includes State designation of all the tribal and nontribal hospital facilities.”

Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in Alaska Natives of all ages and the leading cause of death for all Alaskans under 44 years old. There is approximately a 15 to 25 percent reduction in trauma mortality when a trauma system is in place and functioning. 

"The Alaska Division of Public Health extends its appreciation and congratulations to ANMC for the hard work by physicians and hospital staff that resulted in this successful outcome," said Dr. Ward Hurlburt, Alaska's Chief Medical Officer and director of the state’s division of public health. "The division also encourages all Alaska hospitals and physicians who care for trauma victims to work to meet the criteria established by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma for designation as a Trauma Center at the appropriate level."

Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1987, the Committee on Trauma's (COT) Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the prehospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

Verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance, as outlined by the AmericanCollege of Revised Surgeons' Committee on Trauma in its current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual.

The Alaska Division of Public Health also congratulates the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital, the Norton Sound Regional Hospital, the Sitka Community Hospital, and the Mount Edgecumbe Hospital for all meeting the criteria to be designated as Level IV Trauma Centers.

About the AlaskaNativeMedicalCenter

The AlaskaNativeMedicalCenter operates a state-of the-art 150-bed facility providing comprehensive medical services to Alaska Natives and American Indians. ANMC is jointly managed by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Southcentral Foundation and includes the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center.  

About the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is a non-profit health organization owned and managed by Alaska Native tribal governments and their regional health organizations. For more information, please visit www.anthc.org.

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