GALVESTON, Texas — The University of Texas Medical Branch today announced that it has been re-designated as a Level 1 Trauma Center, one of three in the greater Houston area.
“This is a great day for UTMB and for all of Southeast Texas,” said Dr. David L. Callender, president of UTMB. “This re-designation validates what UTMB has been doing for more than a decade — providing the absolute best and highest level of trauma care. We owe a debt of gratitude to the many men and women who worked so hard to get us back to Level 1.”
UTMB first gained Level 1 Trauma Center status in 1999 but was forced to close its emergency room in September 2008 in the wake of Hurricane Ike. When the emergency room opened a year later, UTMB was once again able to provide the same level of trauma care as it did before the storm. However, to regain Level 1 designation as specified by the American College of Surgeons, UTMB had to document that it was again providing the research support, educational programs and 24-hour availability of specialty care required of such trauma centers, and collect that data for 12 months.
A special committee of trauma experts from the ACS recently confirmed that UTMB had met the criteria outlined in the Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual and confirmed that UTMB had demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured patients. The three-year designation came from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The notification states that UTMB should “be commended for its ongoing commitment to ensure quality care” for trauma patients.
Since the ER reopened, an average of 100 people per day have been treated, with about 25 percent of those patients being admitted to John Sealy Hospital. Prior to the storm, the National Trauma Data Bank ranked UTMB’s trauma center No. 1 in survival rates among all Level 1 trauma centers in the United States.
“This designation is recognition of the tremendous expertise we have at UTMB and the enormous dedication of our surgeons and staff to the trauma program,’’ said Donna Sollenberger, executive vice president and CEO of the UTMB Health System. “Although we want everyone to be healthy and safe, we are proud to be able to offer a full complement of services to patients in need of the excellent care we provide. We are also glad to rejoin our fellow Houston-area Level 1 trauma centers in serving this populous, growing region.”
Dr. Bill Mileski, chief of trauma services and director of emergency medicine at UTMB, said that he was “extremely proud of the great, hard-working men and women here who devote so much of themselves to caring for our patients. They are the real reason that we’re once again a Level 1. It’s been an extraordinary team effort to achieve this designation, and we’ll continue to work as a team to care for our patients.”
Richard E. Wainerdi, president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center, said he was “very pleased that UTMB, the newest member of the Texas Medical Center, has again been officially designated Level 1. This is important for all who live in this region and helps make certain that the overall trauma system for the greater Houston area can function at an appropriate level.”
The University of Texas Medical Branch
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Galveston, Texas 77555-0144
ABOUT UTMB HEALTH: Established in 1891, Texas' academic health center comprises four health sciences schools, three institutes for advanced study, a research enterprise that includes one of only two national laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to human health, and a health system offering a full range of primary and specialized medical services throughout Galveston County and the Texas Gulf Coast region. UTMB Health is a component of the University of Texas System.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS: Established in 1913, this association is a scientific and educational group of surgeons that was founded to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The college has more than 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.