Solano County

Work continues on trauma center designation

By From page A1 | January 11, 2013

FAIRFIELD — A still-developing timetable makes the designation of a Solano County Level II trauma center possible in late 2013, though the decision might well be pushed into 2014.

As a first step, the Solano County Emergency Medical Services Cooperative Board of Directors must approve criteria and standards to judge among competing hospitals. Only one hospital in the county can get the designation.

The Board of Directors had several months ago targeted its Thursday meeting to approve the criteria. Instead, it heard that the criteria being worked on by the American College of Surgeons will be unveiled at the April 11 meeting.

Solano County in 2011 designated Level III trauma centers at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield and Kaiser’s Vacaville hospital. A Level II trauma center can treat the type of head and neurological injuries that a Level III center cannot. A local Level II center would mean these victims would no longer have to be transported to other counties.

“We (would) provide the highest level of care and highest quality of care close to home,” Emergency Medical Services Administrator Ted Selby said.

An estimated 250 trauma victims in Solano County last year needed medical care of a higher level than could be provided at the local Level III centers, county Emergency Medical Services officials said.

There has been no talk of establishing in Solano County a Level I center. According to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, the biggest difference between Level II and Level I is that the latter has teaching and research programs.

Both NorthBay Medical Center and Kaiser Vacaville officials have said they want their hospital to be the lone Level II trauma center in Solano County. State standards limit Level II centers to one for every 350,000 residents and Solano County has about 413,000 residents, too few for two such centers.

Selby said American College of Surgeons officials will be at the April 11 meeting to discuss the proposed criteria for designating a Level II trauma center. The College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons founded in 1913 that sets standards for surgical care.

If the Emergency Medical Services Cooperative Board of Directors adopts the criteria, hospitals wishing to be considered would then have an estimated 90 days to 120 days to prepare submissions, Selby said.

Emergency Medical Services officials are recommending that a panel of outside experts be used to evaluate the submissions. That could take another estimated 90 to 120 days.

Selby said the process as envisioned would have the panel recommend a hospital. The Emergency Medical Services Cooperative Board of Directors could either accept this recommendation or decide not to designate a Level II center.

It’s possible the Board of Directors could make a decision by year’s end, Selby said. But he also said the decision could come in 2014.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

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