Meridian's hospitals seeking trauma center designations
TRAUMA CARE Dr. Mike Stodard, left, and Dr. Vance McKellar discuss a patient's X-rays in the emergency room of Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/staff writer
Feb. 11, 2002
Each of Meridian's three major hospitals has applied for trauma center ratings from the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Although Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center, Riley Hospital and Rush Foundation Hospital are all operating on what the state considers a Level III designation, according to Tim Thomas, head of the regional trauma system, once the hospitals receive their official ratings, Meridian could become the medical control center for a nine-county region.
The statewide trauma care system was developed by the department of health's division of emergency medical services, beginning in 1998, to establish a standardized criteria for trauma care. Participation in the system is voluntary. Designations are based on recommendations from a team of health professionals that inspects the hospitals.
Last March, Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center became the first hospital in Meridian to apply for the designation. None of Meridian's hospitals have yet been inspected.
With the development of the Mississippi Trauma Care System, the state was divided into seven Trauma Care Regions. Thomas, administrator of Newton Regional Hospital in Newton, is director of the state's East Central Trauma Region, which includes Lauderdale, Clarke, Jasper, Newton, Neshoba, Winston, Noxubee and Kemper counties.
Thomas said the region can look forward to more efficient trauma treatment once the new round of designations are made. Newton Regional received its Level IV Trauma Center rating last year.
Thomas said the state has been considering establishing medical control centers in each trauma region.
Currently, seriously injured patients transported by ambulance are usually taken to the nearest hospital, but Thomas said that is not necessarily the best action.
As a Level IV Trauma Center, Newton Regional will sometimes have to transport a patient to a Level III Trauma Center, which would be one of Meridian's hospitals. Thomas said the current system has been to call each hospital as quickly as possible to find out what hospital has what the patient needs.