Billings Clinic has announced that it is pursuing Level I Trauma Center designation, which will elevate lifesaving care in the region, create better patient outcomes and ensure 24/7 trauma care is available.

The Billings Clinic Foundation has launched a $30 million campaign to help fund the project. It has already secured $13 million in pledges from three supporters including a gift of $7 million from the Philip N. Fortin Foundation, a $1 million gift from Tim and Carmen Sheehy and an anonymous $5 million gift.

There currently are no Level I Trauma Centers in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho or South Dakota. The closest centers are Seattle, Denver and Salt Lake City. Trauma patients have a 25 percent greater survival rate if treated at a Level I Trauma Center, according to Billings Clinic – a significant factor given that Montana is ranked as having the second worst survival ranking in the nation for trauma.

 “This is a transformational effort that will increase the level of lifesaving trauma care for patients and families across Montana and Wyoming,” said Billings Clinic CEO Scott Ellner, DO, FACS. “Level I is the gold standard for trauma care and aligns with Billings Clinic’s commitment to innovation in quality care, safety, education, and health care research. We already provide outstanding trauma services, and this will lead to even better outcomes for trauma patients. It will help rural facilities treat more patients locally, and, most importantly, it will keep people closer to home to receive this excellent standard care when they need it.”

As a Level I Trauma Center, Billings Clinic will provide the care and resources to treat every type of injury, no matter how serious, at any time. It means a community-focused, integrated system of care will be available to all in need. The Trauma network will link health care facilities across the region to ensure that every step in a trauma patient’s care journey is connected.

The effort to reach Level I status is expected to take two or three years. It will be built incrementally as they get funding, according to Jim Duncan, Director of the Billings Clinic Foundation.

Level I designation requires having 24-hour in-house coverage by general surgeons and specialists in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, internal medicine, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial, pediatric and critical care.

Trauma research is an essential component of a Level I Trauma Center, and internal research scientists are working with the Billings Clinic trauma team to complete and publish trauma research.

Billings Clinic was designated as a Level II Trauma Center in 1992. Many of the aspects of that level of care will serve as a foundation for developing a Trauma I Center.

Demand to treat trauma patients has grown 55 percent, since 2010, and in Billings it has increased 10-13 percent.

Level I Trauma is a designation from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) that is given to comprehensive care facilities with a large patient capacity and the ability to treat trauma patients with greater degrees of injury severity while providing the highest level of trauma care to critically ill or injured patients.

In order to meet the needs of residents and visitors to the region, Billings Clinic Foundation’s capital campaign will provide funding to expand operating rooms, build a new state-of-the-art transfer center to reduce transport delays, build a dedicated Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) and expand the Emergency Department.

* Montana has the second worst survival ranking in the nation for trauma.

* Billings Clinic has taken the lead on treating trauma patients across a multi-state region, experiencing a 55% increase since 2010.

* Seriously injured patients have a 25% greater survival rate if treated at a Level I Trauma Center.


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