PUBLISHED: 11:19 AM on Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Sitka's two hospitals earn Level IV trauma rating

Photo courtesy of SEARHC
  The doctors, nurses and executives from Sitka Community Hospital and SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital who spearheaded both organizations' drive for Level IV trauma ratings pose with their certificates at the Sitka Fire Department on Thursday. From left are Dr. Russ Bowman, Jackie LaGuire, Dawn Koenig, Moe Chaudry, Frank Sutton, Dr. Leslie Wood and Chris Anglin. Not pictured are Gale Kehres, Mary Watkins, Dr. Graham Chelius, Bec Austin and Cynthia Dennis.
SITKA - The State of Alaska's Section of Community Health and Emergency Medical Services has certified Sitka's two hospitals - Sitka Community Hospital and SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital- as Level IV centers. The trauma center designations are good for three years and they come after a two-year certification process that involved site visits and other reviews.

There are four levels of trauma center designation/certification, and Alaska has adopted the criteria set forth by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. The top three levels - Levels I, II and III - require national review by ASCOT, while Level IV trauma centers go through state review. Level IV trauma centers, also known as Local Trauma Stabilization Centers, are small rural facilities that provide initial evaluation and assessment of injured patients prior to transfer to a larger referral facility, according to the state's trauma system Web page,

By becoming a certified trauma centers, hospitals demonstrate their commitment to providing the best trauma care possible by allowing experts to review staffing and qualifications, procedures, protocols and resources; they meet state and national standards for providing timely and optimal care for the trauma patient; and they are prepared to treat and transport trauma patients according to Alaska's system-wide plan. The two Sitka hospitals are the fourth and fifth hospitals in the state to pass the certification process, joining the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage (Level II), Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome (Level IV) and Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital in Bethel (Level IV).

"The high quality of emergency and trauma-related services provided by Sitka's two hospitals is reflected in meeting the standards set for this designation as Level IV trauma centers," said Frank Sutton, SEARHC Vice President of Hospital Services.

"It is gratifying to note, and our community can rightfully take pride in the fact, that we are extremely fortunate to have two hospitals in our community who are now becoming certified as Level IV trauma centers, whereby we will be able to better streamline the movement of patients within the state and regional trauma systems and together enhance better patient care," said Moe Chaudry, CEO/Administrator of Sitka Community Hospital. "This also will provide further impetus to more collaboration between the two hospitals toward joint personnel training, equipment availability, and ensuring that treatment protocols are in place along with data reporting."

Sutton said one doctor and three nurses were the driving forces in Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital's bid for certification - Dr. Leslie Wood, Chris Anglin, Gale Kehres and Mary Watkins. Chaudry said the Sitka Community Hospital Trauma Designation Certification Team included Dr. Graham Chelius, Dr. Russ Bowman, Jackie LaGuire, Bec Austin, Dawn Koenig and Cynthia Dennis.