NHLC receives 3 year rating as a level 5 trauma center!!

Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2011

“State of the Art Trauma Receiving Facility and one of the best Rural Hospital E.R. setups in the nation”

These were the words of the survey team from the Wyoming Department of Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services on May 10th, when they conducted a day long review of the trauma program that is in place at NHLC. As a result of that visit, NHLC has been awarded a three (3) year rating as a level five (5) trauma center. 

“This is really a big deal for the hospital and community”, Dr. Tom Hoskins Trauma Medical Director and Chief of Staff at NHLC told this reporter. “We have been working towards this for three (3) years and it is a fitting end to all the hard work and perserverance on the part of many present and past hospital employees as well as our local E.M.S. The surveryors were really impressed with our culture of working together as a team and everyone pitching in treating serious trauma victims. Personally, I feel that defines the culture of Lusk and Niobrara County in general and is pivotal in allowing us to operate the smallest hospital in the state.

Normally after a survey, a hospital is either rejected or given a 6-9 month time period to address identified deficiencies. NHLC was awarded the full three (3) year accreditation without any restrictions. “My mouth just dropped open” Dr. Hoskins said, on hearing the surveyors were designating the full accreditation.

Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in persons under the age of 45 and is right behind heart disease in terms of healthcare costs. There has been a 20% reduction in deaths from trauma for victims treated at designated trauma centers. Although NHLC has to transfer many trauma patients on to facilities with a higher level of care, it is that “golden hour” and the resuscitation and stablization and care at receiving trauma centers like NHLC that make all the difference in the patient’s outcome. 

Especially high marks were given to the NHLC Radiology and CT services, Laboratory and Blood Banking and the Lusk Amublance Service, as well as Kenna Manasco for putting together all the necessary forms and paperwork. “We were not perfect and the surveyors felt strongly that the community needed to explore ways of getting the helicopter back to landing right near the hospital and purchasing a video Glidescope for intubating critical patients” Dr. Hoskins remarked. 

Besides all the implications for patient care, receiving the level 5 trauma rating will have a positive effect on hospital revenues and sustainability. There are billing codes that only designated centers can use in addition to state and national funds available for uncompensated trauma care.

“This was truly a team effort at its best and I am truly proud of everyone who made this possible. Lusk is a very fortunate community to have so many people working without fanfare to help their neighbors in times of need” said Dr. Hoskins.