July 15, 2015

UAB re-verified as a Level I Trauma Center through 2018

Written by
jeff kirbyTrauma surgeon Jeff Kerby, M.D., (second from left) consults with members of the trauma team at UAB Hospital.The University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital has been verified through 2018 as a Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons. UAB remains the only American College of Surgeons-verified adult Level I trauma center in the state of Alabama.

The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma created the Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals in 1987 to promote the development of trauma centers capable of providing optimal care for injured patients. Verified trauma centers must meet essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance. UAB first gained Level I status in 1999 and has been re-verified every three years since.

“We are honored that for 16 years we have exceeded the rigorous standards for Level I Trauma verification by the American College of Surgeons,” said Jeffrey D. Kerby, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Trauma, Burns and Surgical Critical Care within the Department of Surgery. “This designation indicates that we stand ready to provide the highest level of trauma care to patients throughout Alabama and surrounding regions.”

There are three levels of verification for adult hospitals and two for pediatric hospitals, with Level I being the most comprehensive. An on-site review of the hospital is conducted by a team of reviewers experienced in the field of trauma.

UAB’s trauma team responded to 3,803 cases in 2014. The Division of Trauma, Burns and Surgical Critical Care has 10 dedicated trauma surgeons and can draw on seven orthopedic trauma surgeons, eight neurosurgeons and other specialists as needed.

Additionally, the division trains up to 40 residents and two fellows in trauma care each year. The team maintains nurse practitioners, physician assistants, a physiatrist, clinical coordinators, epidemiologists, and case managers/social workers. Nurses trained specifically in trauma care work in multiple areas throughout the hospital, including the emergency department, trauma/burn intensive care unit, the neurosurgical intensive care unit, trauma/burn nursing unit, and acute trauma care unit.

The verification program requires participants to 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 from the prehospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

trauma bay“Our trauma program at UAB encompasses the gamut of medical expertise required to care for injured patients, including physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy,” Kerby said. “We are integrated with other essential participants, such as the Department of Radiology and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. We can also call on full blood bank and laboratory services.”

The program maintains a trauma registry and an injury prevention program along with a quality improvement and patient safety program that monitors all aspects of UAB trauma care.

“We maintain an active and robust research enterprise, including injury prevention and community outreach research,” Kerby said. “The division hosts the Center for Injury Sciences and the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network and is a partner in the Alabama Resuscitation Center, a component of the National Institutes of Health-funded Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium.”

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The College has over 72,000 members, and it is the largest association of surgeons in the world. Longstanding achievements have placed the ACS in the forefront of American surgery and have made it an important advocate for all surgical patients.