Officials lobby for trauma center in Okaloosa County

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 12:48 PM.

The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma is expected to present its final report on how to improve the state’s trauma system in the next several months, said Dr. John Armstrong, Florida’s surgeon general and secretary of health.

“This rule-making process really is an opportunity for all of us to work together and move Florida closer to a trauma system that is inclusive, sustainable and integrated for safe and effective care of injured patients and the trauma population,” Armstrong said.\

Representatives from Sacred Heart Hospital spoke against having a certified trauma center in Okaloosa County.

“The Panhandle of Florida is well served by trauma centers,” said Genevieve Harper, staff attorney for Sacred Heart Health System. “In TSA 1, we have two Level II trauma centers and one pediatric trauma center for a population of approximately 700,000. There is no evidence of a lack of access to a trauma center.”

Harper said Sacred Heart’s patient outcome numbers were better than the state average, and if the region really needed another trauma center its numbers would be lower.

he also argued that a trauma center in Okaloosa would take four to five years to fully mature, and it could decrease the chances of Bay County’s new trauma center becoming fully effective by pulling patients from there.

“Redundancies in the trauma system is something we want to avoid because low patient volume will decrease quality of care we can give to our patients, and increased cost will be passed along to our community,” Harper said.

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