Ocala, FL– Ocala Health announced today that the Florida Department of Health, Office of Trauma, has approved their application for Provisional Level II Trauma Center designation at Ocala Regional Medical Center. This designation provides Trauma Service Area (TSA) 6, comprised of Marion, Hernando, and Citrus Counties, with its first and only trauma center.
Ocala Regional Medical Center begins receiving all patients who meet trauma alert criteria as put forth by the State of Florida, as of 7:00am Saturday, December 8, 2012.
“This designation means we can now provide residents of Marion and surrounding counties with trauma care in their own community and ensure that critically injured patients have access to treatment faster, which could mean the difference between life and death,” explains Randy McVay, Chief Executive Officer, Ocala Health. “We are proud to be able to meet a true community need for easier access to comprehensive trauma care when minutes matter.”
The golden hour refers to a time period lasting from a few minutes to several hours following traumatic injury, during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will help to decrease death and disability. Prior to Ocala Regional gaining provisional status, EMS and first responder teams were required to transport patients to facilities outside TSA 6 to centers in Gainesville and Tampa.
The development of a trauma program was a natural next step in the evolution of Ocala Regional Medical Center and is a very proud milestone for Ocala Health. More than $6.5 million has already been invested in developing the program, which is part of the USF/HCA Trauma Network. Community hospitals like Ocala Regional are able to meet local needs for trauma services through affiliations with major academic universities and medical schools.
“Ocala Regional Medical Center joins five other hospitals in the USF/HCA Trauma Network, which was created to complement the State’s existing trauma system, and to provide better access to those citizens living in currently underserved areas,” said James M. Hurst, MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery, USF, and USF/HCA Trauma Network Medical Director. “We look forward to working with Ocala Health to improve access to trauma care throughout Marion, Hernando and Citrus Counties.”
Darwin Noel Ang, MD, PhD, FACS, Medical Director of Trauma Services at Ocala Regional Medical Center, is also the Director of the USF/HCA Trauma Research and Analysis Center. This Center combines the resources of Morsani College of Medicine, USF’s School of Public Health and the USF/HCA Trauma Network in quality and outcomes research.
For the last nine months, Ocala Health leadership and staff have been working on several fronts to prepare to care for the community’s most critically injured patients. Significant efforts included construction of a rooftop helipad and resuscitation rooms in the Emergency Department, critical care training for staff at all levels of patient care, and the addition of new staff members and specialists.