USF Health & HCA have entered into an affiliation agreement to improve access to quality trauma care and services in Florida. The six-year agreement involves USF providing staffing and clinical expertise for trauma centers at five HCA facilities: Blake Medical Center, Kendall Regional Medical Center, Lawnwood Medical Center, Orange Park Medical Center, and Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

USF will appoint a chief trauma medical director to oversee the state-wide trauma network and a facility trauma medical director for each of the five hospitals. USF will also assist with the recruitment and placement of hard to access physician specialists, such as neurosurgeons, for the trauma programs.

One of the key benefits from this collaboration will involve the ability to collect, analyze, and implement alit measures to improve trauma care base on data gather from five trauma centers geographically located throughout the state. The goal is to develop a national model to improve access and reduce mortality, incorporating the most recent innovations in patient care technology, such as the electronic health record (EHR), to extend trauma care coordination beyond the acute care hospital to other settings where ongoing treatment and follow-up care occurs.

Today about 38 percent of trauma patients in Florida receive treatment in a designated trauma center, below the national average and the state’s goal to have 65 percent of trauma patients treated in a Florida licensed trauma center. Trauma is the #1 cause of death for people ages 1 to 44.

The agreement will enable both organizations to participate in the development of a state-wide trauma presence which will bring needed services to underserved areas of the state. Currently, there are no trauma centers located in Trauma Service Area 13 or Services Area 6, which would be addressed with through Level II programs at Blake Medical Center and Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. Lawnwood Regional Medical Center also filled a need when it opened its program in Service Area 14, where no trauma center was previously located. Trauma Service Area 5 has been identified by the Florida Department of Health for years as needing an additional program, a void that the Orange Park Medical Center program would fill. Kendall Regional Medical Center has applied for a Level II Trauma Center for Service Area 19, which has been identified as having a need for additional trauma programs by the Florida Department of Health and currently it is served by only one program.

HCA Florida is a comprehensive network of 38 hospitals operating 9,800 licensed beds in Florida. HCA Florida hospitals cared for more than 3.4 million patients in 2009, including more than 1.5 million visits to hospital emergency rooms.

USF Health includes the University of South Florida’s colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health; the schools of biomedical sciences, as well as physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences; and the USF Physicians Group.