EMS Systems Division — State Trauma System

Trauma is the primary cause of death for people ages 1 to 44, regardless of gender, race, or economic status. Injuries, both unintentional and those caused by acts of violence, are among the top ten killers for Americans of all ages. Trauma results from motor vehicle collisions, falls, burns, stabbing and gunshot wounds, or other blunt or penetrating forces.

Literature indicates that survival of multi-system trauma patients is greatly increased if they are brought to definitive surgical intervention within what has become known as “The Golden Hour.” This is the one hour time period from injury to specialized trauma care – only 60 minutes from the moment of injury to call 9-1-1, dispatch an ambulance to the scene, transport the victim to a hospital, summon the appropriate surgical and support staff and perform necessary life -saving care.

While an emergency department (sometimes referred to as an emergency room) is responsible for providing medical and surgical care to patients arriving at the hospital in need of immediate care, trauma centers maintain a higher level of service than a basic emergency department for victims of multi-system trauma. These services are provided 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, year-round.

Operating rooms, surgical intensive care units, anesthesia, surgical recovery, and a multidisciplinary team of highly trained physicians and support staff are available to respond at a moment’s notice.

The benefits of a State Trauma System include:

(1) Reduction in deaths caused by trauma;

(2) Reduction in the number and severity of disabilities caused by trauma;

(3) Increase in the number of productive working years through reduction of death and disability;

(4) Decrease in the costs associated with initial treatment and continued rehabilitation of trauma victims;

(5) Reduced burden on local communities as well as government in the support of disabled trauma victims; and

(6) Decrease in the impact of the disease on “second trauma” victims—families.

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Authority provides statewide coordination and leadership for the planning, development and implementation of  a State Trauma System. The EMS Authority’s responsibilities include the development of trauma care system regulations a State Trauma Plan, a State Trauma Registry, the provision of technical assistance to local EMS agencies developing, implementing, or evaluating components of a trauma care system, and the review and approval of local EMS agency Trauma Plans and annual Trauma System Status Reports to ensure compliance with  applicable provisions of the California Health and Safety Code and California Code of Regulations.

Local EMS agencies are responsible for planning, implementing, and managing local trauma care systems, including assessing needs, developing  system design, designating Trauma Centers, collecting trauma care data in compliance, at a minimum, with state and national standards, and providing for a Performance Improvement and Patient Safety Program.

For questions contact:

Tom McGinnis, EMT-P
EMS Systems Division Chief
(916) 322-4336 ext. 695