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Conejos County Hospital Re-certifies Level IV Trauma Level of Care

June 5, 2018, La Jara, Colorado

Conejos County Hospital (CCH) passed their level IV Trauma recertification without deficiencies and accolades are due to SLV Health staff who have been working hard to evaluate and improve the trauma services available to the community. An ongoing goal of the Trauma Center at CCH has been to offer efficient, safe and timely care in the event of a traumatic experience. The surveyors, led by Martin Duffy from CDPHE, were impressed and several best practices will be shared with other rural hospitals.

Certification of a level IV Trauma Center authorizes that the center has demonstrated an ability to provide advanced trauma life support (ATLS) prior to transfer of patients to a higher level trauma center. It provides evaluation, stabilization, and diagnostic capabilities. The evaluation process verifies the presence of the resources for optimal care of the injured patient including commitment, readiness, resources, policies, patient care, and performance improvement. 

One of the highlights of the CCH review, in particular, is the excellent amount of collaboration that takes place. CCH Administrator Kelly Gallegos commented, “As a region, we have been working collaboratively to provide the best trauma care possible for our patients. We received praise in the survey because of partnerships with agencies such as the Regional Emergency medical and Trauma services Advisory Councils (RETAC), Emergency Management Services (EMS), Centura Health, SLV Regional Medical Center (RMC) as our Level III partner, Air Ambulance services, and many others.  We were successful in meeting our standard of care during the survey due to the excellent work by our providers and nurses, especially Dr. Matthew Foster who has been serving as our trauma director, Dr. Donna Nelson who is our ED Medical Director, Rachael Shell who is the Trauma Nurse Coordinator at CCH, and our team at SLVRMC including Dr. Dave Geiger who is the Trauma Medical Director and Julie Ramstetter who is the Trauma Nurse Coordinator.”

When a recertification inspection takes place, a center can get tagged with deficiencies to identify areas of improvement. CCH’s Trauma Department received zero deficiencies or reservations. The surveyor, who inspects hospitals state-wide, stated that if he were ever in need of trauma care within the area, he would absolutely have no reservations about being brought to the CCH Trauma Center, stating, “I would be proud to come here if I were ever hurt and I trust that (the center) would give great care.”

The recertification of the Trauma Center is a voluntary process done by the American College of Surgeons and lasts for a 3-year period. Julie Ramstetter added, “The process to prepare for this survey takes a lot of time and preparation on Rachael’s end. It can take anywhere from 3-6 months to prepare everything that goes into the one day review.  She has excellent administrative support and the trauma team does an amazing job.  This is a huge asset for the community.”