The Importance of Level 1 Trauma Services In U.S. Hospitals

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Executive Summary▸ Level I trauma centers provide important community services while facing a disproportionate bur den of financial pressure since the delivery of high-intensity services and a constant state of readiness require substantial overhead costs.▸ In comparison to hospitals without Level I trauma status, hospitals with Level I trauma are “likely to be found in larger organizations with a higher occupancy rate, and higher expenses per discharge.”▸ Trauma I centers are also “more likely to be located in markets with higher per capita income, fewer elderly patients, lower unemployment, and higher managed care penetration.”▸ In addition, they also tend to be larger in bed size, offer a wider range of clinical services, and have more managed care contracts.▸ The authors outline the need for careful financial management of Level I trauma centers and public policy advocacy for better reimbursement rates in order to preserve this valuable community resource.▸ In addition to efforts promoting other tertiary care services to increase volume, efforts to man age cost are also indicated such as interdisciplinary collaboration around clinical protocols and case management services to maximize patient outcomes and minimize the costs associated with complications and prolonged lengths of stay.

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