Elma care facility gets Level 4 rating from state

Summit Pacific Medical Center has been upgraded to a Level 4 trauma center by the state Department of Health.

The designation process is voluntary. Facilities applying for trauma center status must earn the title by meeting a list of criteria established for Levels 1 through 4. The levels are based on a hospital’s resources and capabilities, Level 1 being facilities that provide the most resources and widest variety of care capabilities.

The only Level 1 trauma center in the state is Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia and Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen hold Level 3 trauma center designations. Tacoma General Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma have the Level 2 designation.

“It is a great achievement to be designated a Level 4 trauma center,” said Brenda West, the Elma facility’s clinical officer and quality director. “The staff and physicians worked very hard to make this happen.”

The designation means Summit Pacific Medical Center has demonstrated the ability to provide advanced trauma life support prior to transfer of patients to a higher-level trauma center either by ambulance or helicopter.

Other changes that resulted in the new designation include: an increase in trauma-related training, blood banking capability, policies and procedures for massive transfusions, on-call orthopedic surgery services and physical therapy services, as well as initial and maintenance training of airway management skills for emergency personnel.