Offering more trauma services where they are needed

July 12, 2017

When you’re in need of immediate medical care that an urgent care clinic cannot provide, it’s time to take a trip to your local hospital. If you live in one of our state’s rural communities and are in need of serious care, your local hospital may need to transfer you to another facility that can better care for you. In rural communities, this can require a lengthy trip from one hospital to another.

To provide more care closer to home, Samaritan Healthcare in Moses Lake is working to become a Level 3 trauma center. The facility is currently a Level 4 trauma center, and to receive more advanced care at a Level 3 trauma center, patients currently need to travel more than 65 miles to either Wenatchee, the Tri-Cities or Spokane.

The decision to work toward obtaining a Level 3 trauma center status follows the hospital’s recently released strategic plan. Research has shown that an estimated 70 percent of patients in need of inpatient care are now traveling outside the region for their treatment.

“Many of the patients leaving our area could legitimately get their care at Samaritan,” CEO Theresa Sullivan says. Along with the new Level 3 trauma designation, Samaritan has outlined efforts to enhance patient access to services, such as orthopaedics and future development in cancer care.

The emergency department in particular has been an area of focus for several months, as many patients have been transferred because of short staffing. The hospital has done much work to counteract this issue. Theresa says technological advancements also play a role in the hospital needing to re-evaluate its services, because what constitutes best standards of care is changing, and the hospital must adapt to those changes. (Tim Pfarr)


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