VCU Medical Center re-verified as Level I Trauma Center

A person who attended an event at VCU's Larrick Center, which is located on MCV campus, has tested positive for COVID-19. CT file photo
Only five of the 14 trama centers in Virginia are Level I. Photo by Kelly MicKey
Only five of the 14 trama centers in Virginia are Level I. Photo by Kelly MicKey

The VCU Medical Center was re-verified as a Level I Trauma Center. It is the only hospital in Virginia to be verified in adult, pediatric, and burn trauma care.

This distinction is held by only five of the 14 trauma centers in Virginia. The VCU Medical Center first received this distinction in 1981.

Beth Broeing, the Trauma Program Manager at the VCU Medical Center, defines trauma care as the immediate care of anyone who has sustained traumatic injuries, either minor or severe.

“We operate under a triage system to ensure the right care in the right amount of time, because time is of the essence in these critical situations,” Broeing said. “At the center, we ensure that we have all the necessary resources available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The most defining characteristic of our program is the organizational commitment that VCU has made to all aspects of care.”

The designation process is voluntary at the request of the hospital and is meant to “identify those hospitals that will make a commitment to provide a higher level of care for the multiple injured patients and who welcome public acknowledgment of that capability,” according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The American Trauma Society website states that a Level I Trauma Center is “capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury – from prevention through rehabilitation.”

The society outlines the requirements needed for Level I recognition, including 24-hour in-house coverage by general surgeons, prompt availability of care in specialties, incorporating a comprehensive quality assessment program, providing continuing education of the trauma team members and meeting a minimum requirement for an annual volume of severely injured patients, to name a few.

On top of providing a comprehensive program for immediate trauma care, the Trauma Center prides itself on their community engagement and injury prevention programs. These efforts extend their reach beyond the hospital, getting involved with the Richmond community to work towards less trauma injuries from the start.

“The most outstanding aspect of our center is the commitment we have from so many resources to make sure our patients are immediately cared for, as well as ways for us to constantly be improving our techniques,” Broeing said.

The Virginia Trauma Center bases their standards for assessment off of the criteria provided by the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Emergency Physicians. There are five designated levels overall, with Level I trauma centers defined as having “adequate depth of resources and personnel with the capability of providing leadership, education, research, and system planning,” as stated in the Virginia Trauma Center Designation Manual.  

The Trauma Center at the VCU Medical Center is a collaboration of the Evan-Haynes Burn Center, the Pediatric Trauma Center, the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, the Department of Emergency Medicine, the Department of Neurosurgery, the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Department of Radiology, according to their website.

“The most outstanding aspect of our center is the commitment we have from so many resources to make sure our patients are immediately cared for, as well as ways for us to constantly be improving our techniques,” Broeing said.

The other Level I Trauma Centers in Virginia include the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, the Inova Fairfax Hospital, the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and the University of Virginia Health Systems in Charlottesville.

Article by: Megan Corsano, Contributing Writer

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