Published on November 02, 2018

Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center Receives Level I Trauma Verification

Essentia Health- St. Mary’s Medical Center has just earned verification as a Level I adult trauma center – the only Minnesota hospital north of the Twin Cities to receive this prestigious honor. This reflects the quality and expertise provided to patients who have sustained injuries and receive their care at St. Mary’s Medical Center.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has verified only five adult Level I trauma centers in Minnesota. These facilities provide total care for each patient through every aspect of injury – from emergency care through rehabilitation.

Patients and their families can have peace of mind during a difficult time, knowing they are receiving the highest level of trauma care close to home. Essentia Health has trauma surgeons, radiologists and anesthesiologists on staff 24/7 and specialists such as neurosurgeons, trauma fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and plastic surgeons. 

“Our level of staffing and expertise goes beyond the Level I requirements and is an example of our commitment to the highest level of care,” says Dr. Steven Eyer, who has been a trauma surgeon for 34 years. “We are all intensivists, which is a unique feature of our trauma team that is unlikely to be seen in most Level I trauma centers in our nation.” 

St. Mary’s Medical Center has been performing as a highest-level trauma center for years. To achieve Level I verification, the hospital bolstered research and education components within its trauma services.

“Our focus has been on tracking our care and outcomes for our patients with trauma.  Through this attention to detail we have developed a unique expertise with frail and elderly patients,” Dr. Eyer says. “We have taken the additional steps of publishing our work in medical journals to share our expertise and improve care across the medical community.” This work has already saved lives through changing the treatment of patients who have suffered a fall and are taking blood thinners. 

This trauma verification goes beyond care of the individual patient to help improve health in our region. “Through trauma-related research and education, we advance scientific knowledge, improve patient outcomes and improve the health of our communities,” says Kate Dean, executive director of Essentia’s Institute of Rural Health.

St. Mary’s Medical Center cares for about 1,600 trauma patients each year.  The Level I designation is an important milestone for the communities and patients Essentia is privileged to serve.  “I am extremely proud of the entire trauma team at St. Mary’s Medical Center,” says Essentia CEO Dr. David Herman.  “This verification validates years of hard work to achieve this honor, along with our commitment to our patients.”

Another cornerstone of a Level I trauma center is a teaching component.  St. Mary’s Medical Center has general surgery residents who master their skills here, then care for members of rural communities following their residency.

“Our rural general surgery residency program, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, is helping to address a shortage that is recognized as a state and national crisis,” adds Dr. Eyer.

Level I trauma centers such as St. Mary’s must also serve as a referral resource for communities in their region, providing leadership in injury prevention and public education. They must incorporate a comprehensive quality assessment program, continue to provide education to trauma team members—both at St. Mary’s and throughout the Northland—and have a program for substance abuse training and patient intervention.

The four other adult Level I trauma centers in Minnesota are Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis; Mayo Clinic Hospital, St. Marys Campus in Rochester; North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale; and Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
The American College of Surgeons also re-verified St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital as a Level II pediatric trauma center.

To learn more about trauma verifications, visit http://www.amtrauma.org/?page=traumalevels