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Trauma Care System

Trauma System Program

A statewide trauma system will make the delivery of trauma care cost effective, reduce the incidence of inappropriate or inadequate trauma care, prevent unnecessary suffering and reduce the personal and societal burden resulting from trauma. The goals and objectives of a trauma care system include:

  • Providing optimal care for the trauma victim;
  • Preventing unnecessary death and disability from trauma and emergency illness; and
  • Conducting trauma prevention activities to decrease the incidence of trauma.

Administratively, the statewide trauma system is divided into a State Trauma Care Committee (STCC) and three regions (Western RTAC, Central RTAC and Eastern RTAC), each with a regional committee.

Trauma System Program Contact Info:

Alyssa Sexton
(406) 444-0752

Trauma Care System - Introduction

An inclusive trauma system - designed to care for all injured patients, and to provide a continuum of services including prevention, prehospital care, definitive care and rehabilitation - is essential.

"..trauma care systems" - the coordinated approach to swift identification of injury victims and transport to optimal care - are known to be spectacularly successful in reducing preventable deaths and associated losses.

Many citizens assume that if they are severely injured, an ambulance will promptly arrive and take them to the nearest hospital, which will be ready and waiting to provide optimal treatment for their injuries.

However, large geographical gaps in "systems" care create a situation in which an injured person's likelihood of survival depends on where and even what time of the day the person happens to be injured." (Draft Position Paper, Panel on Trauma Care Systems, February 14, 1992)

Overall Trauma System Objective

The primary objective of an inclusive trauma care system is to assure rapid discovery of the injured persons and initial contact with the emergency medical services system. The injured patient must receive rapid and appropriate care at the scene from law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel and receive rapid, definitive, medical/surgical treatment at an appropriate medical facility.

"All hospitals involved in treating injured patients, particularly those in the rural areas, should be in an "inclusive" system of care facilities. Each facility should provide that level of specialized care within its capability. Regionalization of tertiary trauma care should be accomplished by adherence to trauma care and transfer protocols." (Draft Position Paper, Panel on Trauma Care Systems, February 14, 1992)

Montana Trauma Care System - Summary

Trauma Care Committee
  • A broad-based Trauma Care Committee established by statute
  • Adoption and implementation of a trauma care plan
  • Provides advice and direction to Montana Trauma Care and EMS system
Trauma Care Plan 
  • Defines an appropriate role for each hospital
  • Specifies capabilities and resources of hospitals on a regional level
  • Specifies training for all pre-hospital and in-hospital personnel
  • Quality assurance/quality improvement program to assure patients are receiving optimal treatment based on resources available
  • Ties training to quality assurance/quality improvement

    pdf Trauma System Plan
Pre-hospital Personnel
  • Triage protocols to assure right patient to right facility
  • Training in recognition and management of trauma patients and assuring their knowledge of trauma system operation<
  • Medical control, quality assurance, quality improvement
  • Data collection
  • Improved telecommunications and on-line medical control
In-hospital
  • Establishing a commitment to improved care of trauma patient in all hospitals
  • Establishing, through self-assessment and on-site evaluation, the capabilities of each hospital to manage the various types of trauma patients
  • Regional plans for trauma patients
  • Establishing appropriate referral mechanisms and procedures for each hospital
  • Helping to upgrade each hospital's capabilities to manage the trauma patient consistent with the trauma care plan
  • Documenting uncompensated trauma care
  • Training and education of physicians and nurses
  • Provision of technical assistance to help hospitals improve their trauma care
  • Data collection; quality assurance/quality improvement; patient outcome data
  • Involvement in injury prevention programs
  • Improved telecommunications and on-line medical control
  • Rehabilitation
Data Collection, Evaluation, Quality Improvement
  • Development of trauma/EMS systems standards
  • Data collection techniques to evaluate system performance both pre-hospital and in-hospital; compliance with standards and system
  • Coordination of data from public safety, emergency medical services, medical facility and medical examiners
  • Determining problems of care at all levels, and making changes in the system
  • Continuation and expansion of Montana Trauma Register
Education And Training
  • General public
  • Public school system
  • Pre-hospital emergency medical services providers
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Rehabilitation personnel
  • Prevention activities; injury control programs
Trauma System Legislation
  • Authority to Department of Public Health and Human Services to plan, develop, and implement a state-wide trauma system - designated as the lead agency
  • Allow adoption of administrative rules regarding trauma center designation and classification, data collection, triage criteria, quality assurance/improvement
  • Data confidentiality and protection from discover
  • Legal protection of quality assurance/quality improvement process

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Page last updated 04/01/2014