UMC Brackenridge Redesignated as Central Texas’ Only Level I Trauma Center for Adults


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AUSTIN, Texas – (Aug. 1, 2012) – University Medical Center Brackenridge has been redesignated as a Level I trauma center for adults by the Texas Department of State Health Services, DSHS Commissioner David Lakey announced today.

The state designation is valid for three years. UMC Brackenridge, operated by Ascension Seton for Central Health, Travis County’s health care district, was originally deemed Level I in 2009 and remains Central Texas’ only comprehensive health care facility offering around-the-clock treatment for all adult medical emergencies, including digit and limb reattachment.

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, owned and operated by Ascension Seton, is the region’s only Level I trauma center for pediatric patients.

Dr. Lakey, the state’s top health official, made the announcement at UMC Brackenridge during an event marking the anniversary of the 1966 UT Tower shootings. Photos from the event can be viewed here. The state determination follows inspection and verification by the American College of Surgeons.UMCB plaque2i_300

In a letter to Kate Henderson, the medical center’s vice president and chief operating officer, he stated, “Your hospital is to be commended for its ongoing commitment to ensure quality care is available for trauma patients in its area. I also want to thank you and your staff for the continued leadership role you have assumed in the development of our state trauma system. Congratulations on this impressive accomplishment.”

To maintain a Level I designation, both UMC Brackenridge and Dell Children’s are increasing trauma research and education activities, as well as providing special procedures such as microvascular surgery and digit and limb reattachment. Both medical centers provide 24/7 availability of specialists in neurosurgery; anesthesiology; emergency medicine; radiology; internal medicine; oral and maxillofacial surgery; and critical care.

Many emergency room cases such as heart attacks, strokes and seizures are considered critical, but not trauma. At UMC Brackenridge, the three most common causes of trauma are motor vehicle collisions, falls and motorcycle crashes. At Dell Children’s, they are motor vehicle collisions, falls and blunt trauma to the head.

“This redesignation reassures Central Texans that the best trauma care, on par with any big city in the nation, is available to them locally,” said Greg Hartman, UMC Brackenridge president and chief executive officer. “In addition, increasing medical research is having the direct impact of improving patient care, expanding treatment options and attracting top-level medical talent to our community.”

UMC Brackenridge had been a Level II trauma center from 1996 until 2009. Dr. Carlos Brown, the hospital’s trauma services medical director, said, “The academic world really drives things in the practice of medicine in terms of bringing about change and improving patient care. We are ramping up our research activities dramatically, building on Ascension Seton and Central Health investments in the Ascension Seton Brain and Spine Institute, the Ascension Seton Reconstructive Surgery Institute, the Ascension Seton Heart Institute and other lifesaving and life-improving programs.”