Sunday, January 16, 2000

New trauma system in works

First public meeting will be Tuesday

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Facing a chance that Ohio legislators will make them do it, Greater Cincinnati hospitals, doctors and life squad services are teaming up to develop a new regional trauma system.

        A key part of the effort begins Tuesday, when the recently formed Tri-State Trauma Coalition holds its first public meeting.

        Critics of the current emergency medical system say too many people who suffer severe injuries, especially rural residents, don't get taken promptly enough to the trauma centers best equipped to handle the case.

        A bill introduced by state Rep. William Schuck, R-Columbus, would create a formal trauma care system for Ohio. It would create a medical board to issue guidelines for paramedics and others to use in deciding whether to take a patient to a nearby, but less-equipped hospital vs. a more sophisticated center farther away.

        Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia already have such trauma systems. In Ohio, Cuyahoga, Franklin and Montgomery counties have regional trauma systems, but Greater Cincinnati does not.

        The local coalition includes people from TriHealth, the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, Mercy Health Partners, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Deaconess Hospital, the Health Council of Greater Cincinnati, the Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati, fire chiefs' associations covering Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

        Tuesday's public meeting will include speakers from Oregon, which has a statewide trauma system. Part of the meeting will allow citizens to make comments about local trauma care.

        The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Gregory Centre, 601 E. Pete Rose Way, downtown.


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