Hospital earns Trauma Receiving Facility designation from state

Kay Schaaf, Director of Nursing and Chip Mintz, PA-C, hold a certificate
from the State of Montana that was recently presented to Prairie Community
Hospital designating the hospital as a Montana Trauma Receiving Facility. The designation came after a 5 year review process was completed ensuring requirements were fulfilled, based on available medical equipment as well as trauma training for PCH staff.

By Kay Johnson

It’s about being prepared to care for patients facing emergency situations. From car crashes, work related accidents to heart attacks — medical calamities come in all forms.
With the recent designation as a Trauma Receiving Facility by the State of Montana, the staff at Prairie Community Hospital hope to send a clear message — providing proficient care to those facing emergency situations is a top priority. 
“We’re taking trauma seriously,” said Chip Mintz, PA-C, who has been with the hospital since 1991. “It’s beneficial all the way around,” Mintz added of the designation. “We’re able to provide better care.”
The state designation was given to the hospital at the conclusion of a review process that took about 5 years to complete. Part of the review required the hospital fulfill certain obligations centered on having available medical equipment at the hospital as well as providing trauma training for PCH staff. It also included on-site visits from state medical consultants.
Much of the credit for receiving the designation rests with Trauma Coordinator Amanda Gustad, according to Director of Nursing Kay Schaaf. Gustad, along with the PCH nursing team worked to purchase equipment and complete required training before state approval could be granted. 
PCH is the 40th out of 60 Montana hospitals to receive this designation.
The designation incorporates the hospital into a statewide trauma system designed to ensure that all severely injured patients are quickly evaluated, treated, and transported to trauma hospitals appropriate to the severity of injuries.
The trauma designation also provides assurance that the staff and medical providers are adequately trained, optimizing the use of their resources and providing swift transfer of patients needing further care at a regional trauma facility. 
On average PCH provides care in about 24 trauma situations a year, Mintz said. 
With the increase of traffic on I-94 due to the Bakken oil boom, PCH Administrator Parker Powell estimates those numbers will likely rise.
“We can see it rising in the next year if the traffic continues,” Powell said.
The one year provisional designation will be followed by a full 3-year designation after an on-site visit is completed.

Published January 23, 2013

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