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St. Luke’s Trauma Designation Means You’re in Good Hands
Saturday, November 19, 2022

St. Luke’s Wood River has had its Level IV Trauma Center designation renewed.

The Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency (TSE) Center renewed the designation this month, acknowledging the hospital’s ability to provide advanced trauma life support and seamless transfer of patients to a higher-level trauma centers in Boise, Twin Falls and Salt Lake City when specialized care is needed.

St. Luke’s Wood River Emergency Department receives about 7,800 patients a year with about 400 of those being trauma related.

Twenty-one percent of those require transfer. Some, of course, involve injuries to locals and visitors who play hard at skiing, motor biking and other outdoor activities.

“St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center has demonstrated their commitment to providing excellent trauma care for their community; this has been highlighted by their designation as an Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency System – Level IV Trauma Center,” said Melissa Ball, TSE program manager. “The enormous amount of support and dedication from the staff, administrators and EMS providers was evident during the onsite survey and truly enhances the quality of care provided to trauma patients in the Wood River Valley.”  

St. Luke’s Wood River is one of a handful of rural emergency departments in the country that has ED physicians board-certified in emergency medicine on a 24/7 basis. This designation ensures consistent evidence-based care that coordinates pre-hospital response, transport and hospital emergency/acute care. Additional components of the program are injury prevention and community education on trauma.

 “This designation reflects the ongoing commitment and collaboration of our staff, physicians, and EMS partners to provide the best possible care to our community,” said Brittany McFarland, the trauma program manager who led the effort with Dr. Malie Kopplin, emergency department physician and trauma medical director.

“We are thrilled with the compliments of the surveyors as well as appreciative of their insight on how we can continue to improve our processes to better assure those suffering from trauma receive timely and effective treatment,” she added.

The TSE system was approved and funded by the Idaho Legislature in 2014 to address three of the top five causes of death in Idaho--trauma, stroke and heart attack. Studies show that organized systems of care in such cases improve patient outcomes, reduce the frequency of preventable death and improve patients' quality of life.

 Idaho recognizes five trauma level designations. The higher-level facilities--I and II--treat more complex patients. Idaho does not have any level I trauma centers, which are characterized by teaching programs for medical residents and ongoing research. But there are Level II trauma centers.

St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, Idaho’s only children’s hospital, was recognized in June of this year as a Level 2 Pediatric Trauma care facility by the American College of Surgeons. Other TSE-designated trauma centers within St. Luke’s Health System include Magic Valley, Meridian and McCall.

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