NWI needs local buy-in for trauma center 

Mar 04
2012

Courtesy of the Times  Discussion of a trauma designation has been as unrelenting as talks about a teaching hospital in Northwest Indiana. Both are major concepts dealing with quality of care in the region. The economic impact is estimated to be between $300 million to $600 million.

The Times asked hospital CEOs the importance of a trauma and a teaching hospital to the region. The responses valued both as high priorities in developing medical care.

On the question of location, the hub of Indiana University Northwest, Methodist Hospitals and hospital partnerships would point to Gary as ideal.

These discussions carry some weight based on studies. When considering sites for developments, access into and out of the area are strategic. Location, access, environment and costs are major components to exploring the concept. Major transportation arteries are all connectors to the hub.

The environment in Gary is enhanced by the IU School of Medicine – Northwest. Developing to a four-year institution, its reputation in evidence-based learning and the patient experience rank high.

Medical schools such as Northwestern University continue to partner with Methodist Hospitals in emergency medicine because of the number of acute trauma patients. The Community Hospital also has Illinois medical students on campus. The awareness of quality care is recognized, even by our neighbors.

What does it mean to the region to have a Level 2 trauma designation? A 24-hour team of specialized physicians, available in 15 minutes, attending to acute, blunt and penetrating injuries.

The "golden hour" refers to the first 60 minutes of care in a trauma scenario. Immediate care within the first 60 minutes vastly affects the patient's outcome.

A hospital CEO spoke about former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' head wound and the effect of having a stellar trauma center within minutes of the incident. The next comment raised an eyebrow: "Had this happened in Northwest Indiana, she would surely have died."

Somewhat stunned, I replied, "Shame on the region and the state of Indiana to have that amount of disparity in care to be able to predict such a horrific outcome." The words hung in the air, as other colleagues lowered their heads and nodded.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said if a trauma center is what the region needs, then the region should carry it out and pay for it. Other cities in Indiana have.

Northwest Indiana must involve business in collaborative funding. The responsibility of business to this endeavor of care is the next step. Northwest Indiana's northern shore is lined with businesses, manufacturing companies, casinos, railways and privatized roads, to name a few. Community development is not on the back of government but a partnership.

There are as many reasons for private sector to support a trauma center, even a teaching hospital, as there are for being located on the Great Lakes.

Northwest Indiana has resources. Its growth will be the culmination of talents, resources and capital. Not just regarding the trauma center, an immediate need, or the teaching hospital, a regional asset, but the future developments throughout Northwest Indiana. It comes with a price — cooperation, equity and integrity.

Denise Dillard is chairman of the Northwest Indiana Healthcare Council. The opinions are the writer's.

Copyright 2012 nwitimes.com.

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