Yuba supervisor concerned Rideout pushing trauma certification deadline
Rideout Memorial Hospital was up against a deadline on Thursday to meet certain criteria to retain trauma center status and a hospital official said those conditions would be met.
The hospital is in a process to be certified as a trauma center by the American College of Surgeons, which must verify such centers in conjunction with the Sierra-Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency.
Vickie Pinette, the agency's executive director, said the conditions the hospital had to meet don't directly affect patient care.
"I am concerned, but I do believe they can meet all the criteria to get there," she said.
The hospital's senior vice president and chief clinical officer said the conditions to meet were all operational or administrative, such as making sure Rideout has resolutions in place to maintain and develop quality patient care and joining a registry to monitor outcomes.
"They're all achieved and we're on target for certification," said Chance White of Rideout. The hospital has another set of criteria to meet by the end of August, he said, and a final set before American College of Surgeons makes a final certification decision next February.
Pinette said Rideout was proceeding well on the criteria until a few months ago, a blip she said probably had to do with staff turnover at the Marysville hospital.
Though Rideout has come closer to missing deadlines than any other trauma center in the agency's 20-year history, Pinette said, she wasn't surprised by the situation because the more rigorous American College of Surgeons review only became a requirement a few years ago.
Sierra/Sacramento gave Rideout its initial trauma center certification two years ago, she said, and the agency's board will meet next week to review the hospital's progress on the new certification criteria.
Yuba County Supervisor Roger Abe, who raised the certification issue at a board meeting earlier this week, said it's frustrating because it's a matter of paperwork, not patient care.
"It seems like the easiest thing to do," said Abe, who is also on the agency's board.
Abe said he thinks the hospital will gain certification again, but the recent delays make him nervous.
Designation makes a difference in emergencies
The trauma center designation for a hospital makes the most difference when there is a choice to be made between whether a patient goes to one hospital or another.
As Sierra/Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency Executive Director Vickie Pinette described it, someone in a car accident with two broken femurs, for example, would normally go to a Level II trauma center, Rideout Memorial Hospital's designation.
If the hospital lost the designation, a responder in an accident who encountered a patient with such injuries might send the person to a Roseville hospital instead, Pinette said.
"That might mean going by air ambulance rather than ground ambulance, and it could mean going a lot further for the family members," she said.
But designations don't change a hospital's ability to respond to all emergency situations. Someone who had a restricted airway, for example, would be taken to the nearest hospital regardless of its certification, Pinette said.
And a hospital that loses a trauma center designation can also get it back, she said.