Big Rapids emergency department earns level four trauma designation from State of Michigan

The Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Emergency Department recently received Level Four trauma designation from the State of Michigan, which means the department is capable of providing advanced trauma life support to patients.

January 29, 2019 – BIG RAPIDS, MICH: Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital has officially been designated a Level Four Trauma Center by the state of Michigan. The designation means the emergency department is capable of providing advanced trauma life support (ATLS) prior to transfer of patients to a higher-level trauma center. Under the Level Four designation, Big Rapids Hospital can provide evaluation, stabilization and diagnostic capabilities for injured patients.

Trauma from injury accounts for nearly half of deaths for people ages 1 to 44 in the U.S. In response, the state of Michigan enacted a trauma system to reduce incidences and improve health outcomes for injuries. The emergency team at Big Rapids Hospital has worked the past two years on putting processes and training in place to meet the state’s requirements for its trauma program.

“Achieving this designation says a lot about the preparedness and expertise of our emergency team. Every day, no matter what the hour, the team works in sync to find and treat injuries quickly and efficiently,” said Walt Hartline, nurse manager and trauma coordinator, Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. “To ensure quality and compassionate care, the emergency department also created a trauma program operation committee that continuously looks for improvements.”

The Big Rapids Hospital trauma program also fostered a stronger partnership with EMS and other agencies to improve first responder practices with regular educational opportunties. Community education also was included to highlight fall prevention and tourniquet application to control bleeding.

Big Rapids and Reed City hospital’s chief nursing officer, Caroline Ring, DNP, said the Level Four designation benefits Mecosta County and surrounding areas.

“Because we’re committed to successfully achieving the Level Four trauma designation, our emergency department is able to provide efficient and evidence based trauma care for the families we serve,” Ring said. “We take a coordinated approach to evaluate, stabilize and quickly decide next steps for our patients. Ultimately, the Level Four trauma designation is ensuring the very best care for trauma patients starting at the scene of injury all the way through the emergency department.”

State of Michigan authorities evaluated Big Rapids Hospital in categories ranging from emergency medicine and trauma systems to disaster planning, radiology, and outreach and education.

Prior to the designation, Big Rapids Hospital’s emergency department was a provisional Level Four trauma center. State of Michigan officials plan to conduct a site review at Reed City Hospital in 2019, also for a Level 4 Trauma Center designation.

Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,200 medical staff experts, 3,200 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 220 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $459 million in community benefit in the last fiscal year. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.


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