For someone who has sustained a traumatic injury, the length of time between the injury and receiving care for the injury is an important indicator for survival. For any traumatic injury, time is of the essence.

CCM Health is celebrating a long-awaited milestone: on Dec. 10, the hospital was re-designated as a Level IV Trauma Facility by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Patty Frank, CNO/COO of CCM Health, spoke about the designation. “CCM Health has always been committed to providing the highest level of care to those who need help in Montevideo and our surrounding communities,” she said. “Receiving this designation again validates that we do provide the highest quality care and that we have the tools and processes in place to make sure that seriously injured patients are cared for with resources that are matched with the injured person’s needs.”

CCM Health has been a Level IV Trauma Center in the past, but lost the designation a few years ago, as Frank explained: “Although CCM Health has always strived to provide the highest level of care to any patient who presents to our Emergency Department, the rules associated with the Trauma Program were not consistently followed in the past as a result of some leadership transitions.

“Since that time, all aspects of the Trauma Program have been reviewed and many different processes have been put into place to ensure CCM Health’s success with maintaining compliance with all the criteria moving forward, regardless of any future changes in leadership.”

The State of Minnesota established a statewide trauma system in 2005. According to the MDH, traumatic injury is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 44, and the third leading cause of death overall behind cancer and heart disease.

Frank said: “An inclusive state trauma system reduces death and disability by ensuring the necessary infrastructure to deliver trauma patients to the right hospital, and by coordinating emergency medical and hospital resources to optimize the delivery of trauma care and outcomes.”

Level IV Trauma hospitals are able to provide the initial resuscitation and stabilization of severely injured patients. The most common causes for trauma are falls, motor vehicle crashes, other transportation injuries, and severe cuts and piercings. The most common trauma injuries occur to hips, arms, legs, brain, pelvis, and abdomen.

It is not easy for hospitals to become Level IV Trauma Centers. There are many requirements and regulations to follow, and emergency room personnel receive extensive training.

“A hospital desiring to become a Level IV Trauma hospital may only achieve designation through the MDH Trauma Program,” said Frank. “Hospitals seeking designation as a Level III or IV trauma hospital must first establish a trauma program within their facility that meets the required criteria as set forth by the state.”

Hospitals must complete a Trauma Hospital Profile which details everything the hospital does to ensure all trauma criteria are met. Once that is done, the profile is submitted to the MDH Trauma Program for review.

“Level IV applicants will be notified of the Commissioner’s designation as soon as possible,” Frank said. “A site visit is then scheduled within the three-year designation period. During the site visit, MDH Trauma Program reviewers tour the facility and evaluate the trauma program components.”

According to Frank, all emergency room personnel must be trained for Level IV Trauma situations. She said: “The Trauma Program requires the Trauma Program Medical Director and the Trauma Manager to complete special training. In addition, all nursing staff who work in the Emergency Department at CCM Health are required to take the Trauma Nurse Care Course (TNCC) or Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) which are specific certifications aimed at preparing staff to ensure they are best prepared to give the highest level of care to every patient!”

The designation of CCM Health as a Level IV Trauma Center is of great importance for the Montevideo community. Frank said: “Not only does the community benefit from having highly trained staff capable of providing advanced trauma care to those in need, they can rest assured knowing that CCM Health will do everything we can to be a great community partner by providing education about trauma and other outreach services in Montevideo and the surrounding communities.”