Orange Park Applies for Trauma Center Designation
April 08, 2010
Orange Park Medical Center has applied for Level II trauma designation status with the Florida Department of Health, Emergency Medical Operations Office of Trauma. If approved by the state, residents in fast growing areas of southwest Duval and Clay Counties would benefit from a closer trauma center next year.
The Florida Department of Health has recommended two trauma centers for Trauma Service Area 5, which consists of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns Counties. There is currently only one trauma center serving this area. It is located in Duval County at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center. The next closest trauma centers to Orange Park are in Gainesville, a distance of about 60 miles, and in Daytona Beach, a distance of about 90 miles.
“The residents of our community need a trauma center closer to them,” says Tom Pentz, CEO of Orange Park Medical Center. “Getting patients to a trauma center as quickly as possible after an injury is critical in terms of outcomes. Traffic and growth in Northeast Florida will continue to contribute to longer transport times to downtown Jacksonville.”
Hospital emergency rooms are capable of treating an array of illnesses and injuries that occur in everyday life. A trauma center, however, is a hospital facility capable of dealing with the most severe, life-threatening situations. Because of the rigid set of requirements and certifications, Florida’s trauma centers are uniquely qualified to provide the highest level of trauma care. Mortality is reduced by 15-20 percent when a very seriously injured patient is treated at a trauma center versus a non-trauma center.
“Having a highly skilled staff, trained in trauma care will benefit all our patients, not just those treated for trauma,” Pentz says. “Even non-trauma patients who walk into our emergency room will benefit from this high level of expertise.”
In 2009, Orange Park Medical Center successfully treated 122 trauma patients. This fall the hospital will begin a 19,000 square foot expansion project that will double the size of its Emergency Department. With this expansion, the hospital will be prepared for the increase in trauma patients that will come with Level II Trauma Center designation.
The state of Florida designates two levels of trauma centers, Level I ¯ the highest level ¯ and Level II. The primary differences surround the number and types of physician specialists who must be available to treat trauma patients.