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What does a Trauma II hospital mean?

by Mary Keck

October 24, 2012

Current plans for the $300 million McLaren hospital project in Clarkston ensure the facility will be on track to become a Level II Trauma Center.

To find out how a hospital earns this designation, The Clarkston News spoke to Connie Mattice, a site reviewer for the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and recently retired from Michigan's State Trauma Advisory Council (STAC).

Every state has a system of designating trauma levels for health facilities, and in Michigan the ACS inspects hospitals and determines if they are Trauma level I, II, III, or IV. "To be a level II, you're going to have to go through the American College of Surgeons verification process," said Mattice.

According to Mattice, a Trauma II center offers "a broad spectrum of services for your emergency department," she said. The hospital's emergency offerings would be available twenty-four hours a day and 365 days a year.

Services present at a Trauma II Center include a neurosurgical team, an orthopedic specialist, rehabilitation specialties, CAT Scan availability, Radiology, plastics, and much more.

Mattice notes developing these resources is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. To acquire CAT Scan machines and other similar tools, McLaren would need the approval of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) through another Certificate of Need (CON) application.

Once all the equipment is approved by the state and the emergency department is up and running, the process of reaching a trauma level can begin. "From start to finish [the process] probably takes three to five years," said Mattice.

In order to earn a trauma II designation, a hospital must collect a year's worth of data, which shows the health facility has offered quality trauma care. It must have performance improvement plans in place and must undergo a site review. "It is a process of showing how you manage and address trauma care," said Mattice.

A Trauma II hospital retains its designation for three years, and then it can renew its classification. In short, "It is quite a rigorous process to go through" and "won't be done overnight," said Mattice.

What makes a Trauma II center different from a Trauma I?

"In what we look at in site review, a Level I is more of an academic center," said Mattice. Typically, Level I centers are research focused and often established within a university setting, which offers residency and fellowship programs.

Would a Level II Trauma center be appropriate for Independence Township?

Independence Township's EMS transported 484 patients with life-threatening injuries to nearby hospitals in 2012. Mattice believes those numbers are "typical of what a Level II would see, and that's about four to five hundred major injuries a year," she said.

While trauma levels aren't determined by a number of beds, 250 to 300 beds are the usual amount found in a Trauma II hospital, said Mattice. Find information on the ACS at or the Michigan Trauma Coalition at