Henry Ford Macomb earns trauma center verification

By: Nico Rubello | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 22, 2013


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Henry Ford Macomb Hospital for the first time has achieved national verification as a trauma center, a milestone that marks the culmination of a more than three-year effort to enhance emergency care.

The verification recognizes the hospital, which is located on 19 Mile, as a Level II trauma center. In order to achieve the verification, the hospital had to demonstrate that it was providing a high level of trauma care by meeting the strict standards outlined by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma.

The verification meant the culmination of a three-and-a-half-year, multi-disciplinary approach to providing more comprehensive trauma care.

“Personally, it makes you feel good because you accomplished a goal that you set out to do, and you’re making things a lot better,” said Dr. Peter Lopez, medical director of trauma services for Henry Ford Macomb. “(The verification) just justified this effort.”

The Committee on Trauma’s verification program for hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care within the hospital’s emergency room, operating room and recovery room, but also the entire spectrum of care, from the time the ambulance arrives to the rehabilitation process.

Since 2009, hospital officials have been improving trauma care, which means implementing more education for medical staff and structured trauma care guidelines for dealing with various medical scenarios. 

And beginning in September 2010, the hospital also began keeping trauma surgeons on site around the clock. Before that, Henry Ford Macomb had trauma surgeons, but none were in-house.

Chris McEachin, Henry Ford Macomb’s trauma program manager, said within the staff of Henry Ford Macomb the process brought about a culture change that heightened emergency workers’ sense of awareness of what trauma is. The hospital now has guidelines in place to treat varying levels of trauma, a term used to describe everything from a gunshot wound to a head injury, and any other medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

To achieve verification, Henry Ford Macomb underwent more than a day of intense scrutiny from ACS inspectors who reviewed hospital data and facilities and questioned how medical personnel would handle certain medical situations. The ACS officially verified Henry Ford Macomb in February.

However, to remain a trauma center, the hospital will have to re-verify next year, with the bar set higher each time it re-verifies, so the trauma center will have to continually improve operations.

“Basically the ante goes up every time,” Lopez said. “Our job is not done.”

In Michigan, the American College of Surgeons has verified 35 hospitals as trauma centers of varying levels.

Henry Ford Macomb officials are already looking ahead, with plans to initiate preventative care programs. The hospital is, for example, in the process of creating a program that will send experts to senior citizens’ residences to assess how they can better prevent an injury-inducing fall.

Henry Ford Macomb is a 349-bed acute and tertiary care hospital with physicians in a wide range of subspecialties caring for trauma patients.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. With 72,000 members, the ACS is the largest association of surgeons in the world.