Theda Clark Reverified as Level II Trauma Center

Neenah Hospital One of Only Eight in Wisconsin to Meet Stringent Criteria

The Trauma Center at Theda Clark Medical Center was recently verified as a Level II trauma center for the sixth time, the longest continuously verified Level II trauma center in Northeast Wisconsin. The Level II verification is a national program by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma.

Theda Clark is one of only eight Level II trauma centers in Wisconsin; the state has three Level I hospitals with the main difference being that those facilities are considered teaching hospitals. In 1998, the Trauma Center at Theda Clark became the first Wisconsin hospital outside of Milwaukee and Madison to be verified. Each verification lasts three years.

Raymond Georgen, MD, medical director of the Trauma Center at Theda Clark, said the Aug. 14 shooting of an employee at the Wal-Mart in Neenah and how quickly she received treatment shows the importance of having a Level II facility in the Fox Cities.

“We have the resources and staff here to treat a variety of trauma-related injuries. The verification from ACS shows we are ready at any time a person suffers a traumatic injury and that we are providing the best possible care,” he said.

According to the National Trauma Data Bank, the Trauma Center at Theda Clark treats patients with more severe injuries than the national average. Yet, Theda Clark has a similar mortality rate and better outcomes than similar national programs. In 2012, the top two types of injuries treated at the Trauma Center were motor vehicle crashes (31 percent) and falls (27 percent).

“We provide an essential service to our community. We have the processes and people in place to respond to traumatic events,” said Fran Finley, vice president of operations at Theda Clark. “We provide patients with the best possible chance of survival and recovery after receiving a traumatic injury.”

Dr. Georgen credited not only the physicians, nurses, and staff members from multiple departments at Theda Clark for the Trauma Center’s success, but also EMS responders who treat and transport patients and staff members at outlying hospitals.“We couldn’t do what we do here without our EMS partners in the field who provide that first level of care to patients as well as physicians’ staffs at rural hospitals who quickly identify and refer patients who need the Trauma Center,” he said. “We’re grateful to be part of a wonderful community of health care and emergency professionals.”

In addition to emergency care, the Trauma Center program also provides patients with follow-up care in a variety of specialty areas, including general surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, cardiology, urology, orthopedics, hand and upper extremity surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pulmonology, plastic surgery, oral surgery, and rehabilitation.

“The reverification provides validation that we have everything in place to provide the best care possible to patients,” Finley said. “Our people are the best and they love what they do.”

The Trauma Center at Theda Clark serves 10 counties, including Winnebago, Outagamie, Calumet, Waupaca, Shawano, Menominee, Waushara, Green Lake, Fond du Lac, and parts of Sheboygan.

Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1987, the Committee on Trauma’s verification program promotes the development of trauma centers. Participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care for all injured patients. Each hospital undergoes an on-site review by a team of experienced trauma surgeons as part of the verification process.

The ACS Committee on Trauma does not designate trauma centers. Rather, the program provides an ongoing confirmation that the trauma center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured patients. The actual establishment and designation of trauma centers is the function of local, regional, or state health care agencies.

There are four separate categories of verification. Each level has specific criteria that must be met in order for that facility to qualify. A Level II trauma center is able to initiate and provide definitive care for all injured patients. Other key elements of a Level II trauma center include:

  • 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons, as well as coverage by specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, and critical care.
  • The ability to accept tertiary care referrals.
  • A commitment to trauma prevention and to the continuing education of the trauma team members.
  • A dedication to advancing trauma care through a comprehensive quality improvement program.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. The college has more than 77,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

Theda Clark Medical Center is a 166-bed acute care hospital founded in 1909. In addition to general medical and surgical care, specialized services include a birth center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin - Fox Valley, the region’s only American College of Surgeons Verified Level II Trauma Center, the Aylward Outpatient Surgery Center, ThedaStar Air Medical Helicopter and ThedaCare Orthopedics.. Theda Clark Medical Center also offers comprehensive neuroscience care and the Theda Clark Stroke Center was the first stroke center in Northeast Wisconsin to be certified as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. The Bariatric Program at Theda Clark, along with Midwest Bariatric Solutions and its surgeons, have jointly received two Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence designations by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Bariatric Surgery.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.