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NorthBay Medical Center has been named a Level II trauma center by the American College of Surgeons. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic file)


NorthBay earns Level II trauma center verification

By From page A1 | July 04, 2014

FAIRFIELD — NorthBay Medical Center earned verification as a Level II trauma center by the American College of Surgeons – the first hospital in Solano County to do so, reaching the “gold standard” that has been the Fairfield hospital’s goal, NorthBay said Thursday.

NorthBay notes that Solano County chose Kaiser Permanente in October as its designated Level II trauma center, but NorthBay leaders said that didn’t deter the Fairfield medical center from developing a range of advance surgical procedures available 24 hours a day and earning the verification.

Steve Huddleston, spokesman for NorthBay, said of its verification that “two Level II trauma centers (in the county) are better than one.”

Such centers are prepared for most trauma situations except for burn victims and major injuries to infants and children, a NorthBay press release said.

Corwin Harper, senior vice-president of Kaiser Permanente in the Napa and Solano area, said Friday that Kaiser’s hospital in Vacaville “is the official and only Level II Trauma Center designated by Solano County.”

“This is based upon the American College of Surgeons’ evaluation and the county’s official review of Kaiser Permanente’s demonstrated excellence, expert specialists and equipment in this specialized area of medicine,” Harper added. “Nothing about this designation has or will change as a result of NorthBay’s announcement.”

Jessica Tello-Evans, administrator of the Solano Emergency Medical Services Cooperative that designated Kaiser Permanente as the Level II Trauma Center, said Kaiser has until July 2015 to earn verification.

“I expect them to meet that deadline,” she said.

NorthBay’s verification won’t change Kaiser’s status as the trauma center for Solano County, Tello-Evans said. Kaiser earning verification is simply an issue of timing, she added.

NorthBay spokesman Huddleston said four levels of trauma center status exist, with the least sophisticated, often rural hospitals offering emergency care, designated as level IV.  Level I requirements include affiliation with a university for medical research, the NorthBay spokesman said.

“We don’t have plans to put that into motion immediately,” he said of the top level attained by the University of California, Davis Medical Center and others.

Huddleston said the staff was informed Thursday morning in an email blast about the American College of Surgeons decision verifying NorthBay.

The Fairfield medical center’s news release notes some, but not all, patients with head and spinal injuries are transported by ambulance to Kaiser in Vacaville because of the county designation, even though NorthBay’s Fairfield hospital is closer.

A stable patient with a head injury is taken to Vacaville, Huddleston said.

Asked about the extra 10-mile trip from Fairfield to Vacaville, he answered, “you’d have to ask the county to explain why that was the path chosen.”

Tello-Evans said a stable patient should be able to make the trip by ambulance.

NorthBay will continued to receive Level II patients needing immediate treatment. Such a patient who arrives in a private vehicle or walks into the emergency department will receive immediate care, NorthBay said.

The Fairfield hospital handles more than 60 percent of all local trauma cases, the NorthBay news release said.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 4 comments

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  • boomJuly 04, 2014 - 12:07 am

    Don't forget Harry Price recommended Kaiser Vacaville to get the designation. Kudos to NB for getting together on their own, there's 130,000+ people in SS/FF, minutes to the hospital can save lives, or if lengthened , contribute to permanent brain damage. Still livid they picked Kaiser, way out in the boondocks, over centrally located FF.

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  • Overpriced HealthcareJuly 04, 2014 - 9:29 am

    Northbay hospital has the highest mark up for procedures and equipment used on patients. That mark up is at 100%...If you have a family member who spends about 11 days in the ICU expect to pay $700,000 if you have no insurance. Also NB is famous for over drugging patients and that is in the ICU and downstairs!. My family member was given 4x the amount of medication and because of that she was forced to go into assisted living for 2 months to recover. Also watch the nursing staff, what caused my family member to go into the ICU was the nursing staff on the first floor neglected to check on my grandma and she choked on her lunch which aspirated into her lungs and that forced a 11 day ICU stay at $700,000. These were two different incidents and because of the ICU stay she is now in assisted living again for 3 months. Luckily her insurance covers everything but for people who don't have it like that how can someone pay that amount!!. It's cheaper to die then spend anytime in the hospital!.

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  • Mark MorganJuly 04, 2014 - 10:30 am

    When will all of the politically charged rhetoric be replaced by a non-economic, honest discussion about what matters most: caring for patients. Both Kaiser and NorthBay are clearly committed to providing the best care to the patients they serve, Both institutions should work together with the county to develop a system to provide the fastest life saving care. If each institution is willing to make the enormous investment of capital and resources to ensure and maintain the provision of Level II trauma care, then both should be supported and no patient should ever be transported further than necessary to obtain time sensitive, emergency care. County lines, who is first, or who is designated are irrelevant.

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  • JoycE BarnesJuly 04, 2014 - 11:41 am

    Quit playing politics. Think of the residents of this county. What is best for them. I think this county could use two trauma centers.

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