Community Hospital now a Level III trauma center

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Community Hospital was recently designated as a Level III trauma center by The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The jump from a Level IV to a Level III trauma center will help Community Hospital treat more patients and receive ambulance transfers from throughout the region.

"Hopefully, it’ll be easier for crews to get patients to us more timely, and with our new services we’ll be ready," said Chris Thomas, CEO of Community Hospital.

Andrew Morse, the Community Hospital trauma medical director, said trauma is the foundation of a hospital.

"Trauma often is the driving force for hospital excellence across the board," said Morse. “The Level III trauma designation will help solidify Community Hospital as an excellent place for patients to come and receive their medical care."

There are five trauma levels – one being the highest – and it's a lengthy process to move up.

"The difference between level IV and level III is having a number of physicians on-call available," said Thomas. “For example, we have orthopedics, general surgery and ears, nose, and throat.”

The Level III designation requires the hospital to ensure all staff and equipment are able to handle more patients.

“We beefed up our general surgery and our ability to take multi-symptom accidents that are happening out there in the community," said Thomas.

Morse said on a typical day the emergency room staff at Community Hospital sees about 40-60 patients, and about 15-20 percent of those will be trauma.

"A trauma patient is basically a patient that's been injured, that may be as simple as a sprained ankle, to broken bones, to maybe a ruptured spleen,” said Morse. "One of my favorite things about trauma, and surgery, in general, is being able to provide help and immediate relief to the patient."

Community Hospital said patient transfers always go to a higher trauma level facility. Now, other Level IV or V rural hospitals across the Western Slope will have another option when they need to transfer patients for more comprehensive care.

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