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State Re-designates UMC Brackenridge as Highest Level Trauma Center

Bryant Miller, KUT News

University Medical Center Brackenridge announced its re-designation as a Level I Trauma center for adults today.

The designation reaffirms the original Level I designation the hospital received in 2009. Every three years the center goes through a stringent re-designation test by The Texas Department of State Health Services.

Brackenridge CEO and President Greg Hartman says the designation does not drastically change the facility’s services, but increases its capabilities.

“Well, we had Level 2 Trauma [before 2009], so a lot of the services that are available now were available then,” he says. “But what we didn’t have were some of the real cutting edge and unique things for this community- things that you had to go to San Antonio, Houston or Dallas for.”

He says one of the differences is the wider variety of staff that must be on-call 24/7.

“It’s a unique kind of facility where the best of the best are always available for really serious injuries as well as a whole lot of different calamities you may find yourself in,” he says.

Hartman also recognized the additional costs of the staff needed to keep the hospital designation.

“Being a Level 1 Trauma is an extremely expensive venture. It’s something you have to do and a community like this needs one, but it really is very expensive,” he says. He said Seton Healthcare and several donors pledged to make the hospital a Level 1 center.

Sen. Kirk Watson, who also attended the re-designation ceremony this morning, says the extra staff and added expenditures were only part of what the hospital needed to achieve the re-designation.

“It also means that we have achieved some level of proficiency in medical education and academic medicine because you can’t achieve a Level 1 status without that,” he said. Watson said the designation would make the possibility of bringing a medical school to Austin easier.

This designation is valid until 2015.

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