UK HealthCare

State Trauma System Gets First Financial Input

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2009) − The first major funding for Kentucky's newly-formed statewide trauma system will come from private sources--marking the first time private dollars have been used for a state trauma system.

Following the landmark passage of House Bill 371 last year, which established the initial framework of a statewide trauma system in the state of Kentucky, $25,000 of private money will be used to purchase a highly sophisticated trauma database, partially housed at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital.

The private funding comes from Marshall Emergency Services Associates (MESA), a private emergency medical group that covers the state of Kentucky. Members of MESA enlisted support from their fellow physicians to "work a shift for trauma" and make donations in the form of payroll deductions.

"We at MESA are very proud to donate $25,000 dollars towards the purchase of the state's first trauma database," said Dr. Eric Guerrant, of Marshall Emergency Services Associates, and medical director of emergency services, Ephriam McDowell Regional Medical Center. "Every day our physicians are in the trenches, providing trauma care in the rural setting. We see on a daily basis the need for the development of a strong statewide trauma system, and this is laying that foundation. It is with grassroots efforts like these, where private physicians are donating money out of their own pockets, that we will get the attention of our lawmakers to provide further funding for the system."

Most trauma systems are funded by federal and state money.  The private money being donated for the Kentucky trauma system represents a new approach.

The $25,000 will go towards purchasing the data repository to store information on trauma-care patients across the state. It will contain a Web portal for five small critical-access portals. This will improve reporting and trauma care delivery with the goal of reducing death and disability rates in Kentucky.

UK already manages state trauma information through the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center in the College of Public Health. The new database will be a powerful and efficient resource that will include the state trauma registry.

Injury is the most common cause of death for people under the age of 45 in the state of Kentucky.

"This is an unprecedented practice, that physicians realize that trauma is a problem and are stepping forward to make the commitment to a healthier Kentucky," said Dr. Andrew Bernard, trauma surgeon and assistant professor of surgery in the department of surgery at the UK College of Medicine.

The Trauma Advisory Committee (TAC) will seek ongoing funding through the state budget during this next year.

House Bill 371, sponsored by Rep. Bob DeWeese and co-sponsored by 22 other representatives from across the state, encourages the drafting of written transport protocols for EMS providers to better define which patients can stay at a local hospital for treatment and which ones may benefit from bypassing a closer hospital to go directly to a trauma center. Under the bill, additional hospitals are asked to explore the possibility of becoming a trauma center. Additionally, the statewide trauma system provides better education for providers, including first responders and EMT/paramedics, nurses, physicians and hospital administrators.