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Trauma System in Alaska

Trauma Center Designation:

An important component of Alaska’s trauma care system is certified trauma centers. Trauma centers provide an organized and timely response to traumatic injury. What this means in Alaska is:

  • The hospital has demonstrated commitment to providing the best trauma care possible by allowing experts to review staffing and qualifications, procedures, protocols and resources;
  • The hospital meets state and national standards for providing timely and optimal care for the trauma patient, and;
  • The hospital is prepared to treat and transport trauma patients according to Alaska’s system-wide plan.

There are four levels of trauma center designation/certification. Alaska has adopted the criteria set forth by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACSCOT). Prior to applying for state certification, Level I, II, and III trauma centers must complete an application to ACSCOT and have a verification visit by a team from ACSCOT. Using ACSCOT criteria, Level IV trauma centers are verified by a state team, appointed by the Alaska Division of Public Health.

  • Level I
    Level I Trauma Centers generally serve large cities or population-dense areas. A Level I Trauma Center is responsible for providing leadership in research, professional and community education. There are no Level I Trauma Centers in Alaska because, there are no trauma research and teaching facilities in Alaska.
  • Level II
    A Level II Trauma Center provides comprehensive trauma care and serves as a lead trauma facility for a geographical area. A Level II Trauma Center provides educational outreach and prevention programs and assumes responsibility for trauma system leadership. There are emergency physicians and nurses in-house to initiate resuscitation and stabilization, with surgical teams on call and promptly available.
  • Level III
    The Level III Trauma Center provides assessment, resuscitation, emergency surgery, and stabilization and, for the most critically injured patients, arranges for transfer to a Level I or Level II trauma center that can provide further definitive care. A general surgeon must be promptly available and the facility must be involved with prevention and have an active outreach program for its referring communities.
  • Level IV
    Level IV Trauma Centers are small rural facilities that provide initial evaluation and assessment of injured patients prior to transfer to a larger referral facility.