Delivering the Right Trauma Care

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Research indicates that a systematic approach to trauma care can provide the best means of protecting the public from death and disability. Trauma care systems reduce death and disability by identifying causes of injury and promoting activities to prevent injury from occurring and by assuring that emergency medical resources are ready and able to deliver the right patient to the right facility at the right time.

Intermountain Healthcare has committed to achieving trauma center designation in all of our hospitals. This has helped Intermountain have the most designated trauma centers in the state of Utah including the only pediatric level 1 center in Utah.

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) “Model Trauma System Planning and Evaluation” document provides the framework by which trauma systems throughout the United States have been developed. This landmark document defines a trauma system as “a pre-planned, comprehensive, and coordinated statewide and local injury response network that includes all facilities with the capability to care for the injured. (Model Trauma System, 2006).

Trauma Centers

The state designates trauma centers based upon national standards and best practices. The level of trauma designation is dependent on the size, medical staff resources, the ability of the trauma center to provide definitive care and the depth of ancillary resources available to care for the trauma patient. The following table outlines the comparative resources required for trauma center designation.


The system includes EMS agencies, acute-care hospitals, and designated trauma centers. In 2011, these entities provided care for 11,448 trauma cases.

Trauma Centers

Of the 45 licensed acute care hospitals in the state, nineteen (42%) are designated trauma centers. Figure 2 shows the geographic location of all Utah licensed hospitals with designated trauma centers color-coded by level. Of those, designated trauma centers, eleven are Intermountain Healthcare facilities.

The state trauma system is also divided into geographic regions based upon referral patterns and existing health care preparedness which also coincide with local health department boundaries. This structure facilitates collaboration between EMS Agencies and hospitals in addition to providing an administrative framework for training, performance improvement, etc. 

Reference: Bureau of Emergency Medical Services; Preparedness, Utah Department of Health (2013). Trauma Registry Report—2011. Salt Lake City, UT.