Utica's new downtown hospital will include a higher designation for the facility's trauma center.
"Right now, we have limited resources to meet the level 2 criteria. As we move together into the single building, we have providers that are over there, anesthesia on call in house 24/7, more interventional radiology resources and that will help us to achieve a level 2 trauma status," says Trauma Coordinator Tracey Barone.
St. Elizabeth Medical Center was a level 2 center, but the criteria changed in 2012, and they were bumped back to level 3. But Barone says they're a high - functioning level 3, which will make it easier to achieve level 2.
"Asa level 3 right now, we are functioning higher than level 3. We have a lot more services than what's required. For example, we have a great neurosurgical program that's not required."
Level one trauma center designation is something that will likely never occur in the Utica area. The volume of patients simply isn't present, in addition to other unmet criteria.
"You also have to be tied to a university medical center. You also have to do research. So we do not have a medical college that we're associated with so we'll never be able to achieve a level one unless that changes in the future," said Barone.
Level two, however, will make that potentially frightening trip to the emergency department smoother for patients and their loved ones dealing with traumatic injury or illness.
"Think about the patients that present to the emergency department here at St. Elizabeth's that come in with maybe cardiac symptoms that turn out to be a stroke. We're transferring those patients to Faxton St. Luke's for continuity of care, so we're going to have it all in one location. That's huge for a community," says Assistant Nurse Manager of the emergency department, Stacey Salmon
The projected completion date for the new downtown hospital is 2022. The goal is to reclaim that level 2 trauma center designation by 2023.