UF Health TraumaOne receives top recognition from American College of Surgeons

UF Health TraumaOne, the only adult and pediatric Level I trauma center in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, has received official verification from the American College of Surgeons, a distinction given only to trauma centers that meet the most stringent criteria.

Trauma center verification is an evaluation process by the American College of Surgeons, or ACS, to evaluate and improve trauma care. The ACS verifies the presence of the resources listed in its guidelines, Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient. These include commitment, readiness, resources, policies, patient care and performance improvement. ACS verification was given to UF Health Jacksonville following a two-day visit in June and is valid for three years.

“Our level of commitment and expertise is something we have focused on since we opened the state’s first trauma center 35 years ago, but this recognition is truly special,” said Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D., MHSA, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “It shows that we have the best people and resources available to save as many lives as possible. I could not be prouder of this organization.”

Trauma centers in the United States are identified through two processes, either designation or verification. Designation is a process outlined and developed at a state or local level, which in Florida is handled through the Department of Health. UF Health Jacksonville houses one of just 10 Level I trauma centers in the state.

“The equation is quite simple. Trauma centers help save lives. Nationally verified Level I trauma centers are at the top of the list, and UF Health Jacksonville has proven itself to be among the very best,” said Andrew Kerwin, M.D., chief of acute care surgery at UF Health Jacksonville. “UF Health TraumaOne has been a leader in trauma care for nearly 35 years. Becoming an ACS-verified Level I trauma center ranks us among the very best in the country.”

UF Health Jacksonville, which opened its trauma center in 1983, is just the eighth verified trauma center in Florida and joins approximately 500 verified trauma centers nationwide. The closest verified Level I trauma centers in Florida are in Tampa and South Florida.

“We went through this detailed, rigorous process because we believe it will continue to help us grow as a health care leader in this region,” said Julia P. Paul, M.S.N., NP-C, UF Health Jacksonville’s trauma program manager, who spearheaded the effort for verification. “Our team put the same passion into this project as they do every day in our trauma center, and this exclusive national organization recognized that.”

The ACS Verification, Review and Consultation Program helps hospitals evaluate and improve trauma care. It provides an objective, external review of a trauma center’s resources and performance. A team of trauma experts completes an on-site review of the hospital and assesses relevant features of the program.

ACS’s long history of activities directed toward the improvement of trauma care was enhanced substantially in 1987 with the creation of the consultation/verification program.