Billings Clinic announced that it has been verified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as Montana’s first Level I Trauma Center, making it the only one in a 550-mile radius that includes all of Montana and Wyoming.

“Being a Level I Trauma means we provide the highest level of trauma care available while elevating lifesaving care, creating better patient outcomes and advancing trauma care throughout the communities we serve,” explained Clint Seger, MD, Billings Clinic CEO.

Trauma injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans up to the age of 44, and the fourth leading cause overall for all ages. With a highly rural population sometimes living hundreds of miles from the nearest trauma center, trauma survival rates in Montana are lower than much of the rest of the country. This adds up to make the availability of high-level trauma services throughout the region are both critical and urgent.

Seriously injured patients have a 25 percent greater survival rate if treated at a Level I Trauma Center. At the same time, Billings Clinic sees a 10 percent annual increase in trauma patients each year, and with this verification Billings Clinic continues to lead the way for local, independent trauma services of the highest level for anyone who needs them in Montana and Wyoming.

“Billings Clinic’s core mission is to provide the highest quality, complex care close to home for the entire region, and becoming the region’s first Level I Trauma Center is a reflection of both that commitment and the compassionate dedication of so many people across every facet of our organization,” said Seger.

 “We work tirelessly day in and out to improve care in Montana and Wyoming, and being a Level I Trauma Center is another major step to support everyone in the region who is a victim of trauma. This is the top level of trauma center verification any hospital can receive,” said Michael Englehart, MD, FACS, general and trauma surgeon and Billings Clinic Trauma Medical Director. “We already offer the most comprehensive trauma services in the region and have the busiest Emergency and Trauma Center in Montana. We also know that people do better when they get their care close to home, and that’s why we’ve passionately pursued this – to give everyone the same level of lifesaving care when they need it, no matter where they live.”

The verification comes after an expert ACS review team reviewed every aspect of Billings Clinic’s trauma program in May of 2023. This decision from the ACS recognizes that, as a Level I Trauma Center, Billings Clinic provides system leadership and comprehensive trauma care for all injuries and that it has the right people and resources to do so effectively and consistently.

In addition to providing acute trauma care, being a Level I Trauma Center means Billings Clinic plays an important role in local trauma system development, regional disaster planning, increasing capacity, and advancing trauma care through research.

There currently are no other ACS verified Level I Trauma Centers in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho or South Dakota. Billings Clinic has taken the lead on treating trauma patients across a multi-state region, experiencing a 55 percent increase since 2010.

Billings Clinic has been continually verified as Montana’s first Level II Trauma Center since 1992 and already had many of the required pieces in place to become a Level I center. As part of its journey to becoming a Level I Trauma Center, Billings Clinic is hosting surgical residents and in 2022 announced Montana’s first rural surgical residency track in collaboration with the University of Arizona. There are currently two surgical residents practicing at Billings Clinic on one-year rotations. Trauma research is also an essential component of a Level I Trauma Center, and internal research scientists continue to work with the Billings Clinic trauma team to complete and publish trauma research.

In support of achieving this monumental investment in trauma care for the region, Billings Clinic Foundation launched a $30 million capital campaign.. The Foundation is more than halfway to this goal.


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