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Q: I heard that Maui Memorial is seeking to become a Verified Level II Trauma Center. What does that mean?

As a verified trauma center a hospital is equipped to care for patients who have severe, life-threatening injuries. As the only acute care hospital on the island, Maui Memorial Medical Center is already a trauma center with a Level III designation since 2013. However, this new Level II verification by the American College of Surgeons will elevate our program to ensure traumatic injury patients can receive the highest level of care right here on Maui.

There are five levels of trauma centers recognized by the American College of Surgeons, with Level I providing the highest level of care. The Level I verification is reserved for hospitals that are aligned with medical schools that are actively doing research, and a Level II, which is the highest verification available for a community hospital, which is what Maui Health is working to achieve.

According to the American College of Surgeons, a Level II trauma center “is able to initiate definitive care for all injured patients.” The hospital must provide 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons, as well as specialties including orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, and critical care. The hospital is required to provide injury prevention to the community, work collaboratively with other agencies, and provide continuing education programs for staff and have a comprehensive quality improvement program in place.

We have already started the process of becoming a Level II trauma center and have established a new 24/7 trauma team of four surgeons. That means there will always be a surgeon on call who is dedicated exclusively to trauma patients. We have also cut our maximum response time for full trauma activation in half, from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. And we are in the process of hiring additional care providers like nurse practitioners and physician assistants to further complement our trauma care team.

We have only started this journey to a Level II trauma center and expect it will take at least two years to ensure all the vital components and programs are in place and sustainable to receive our well-earned verification.

Jeffrey Later
Trauma Care Program Manager, Maui Health