By Walter Reed Public Affairs December 19, 2013
BETHESDA, Md. (Dec. 19, 2013) -- Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has joined an elite group of hospitals verified by the American College of Surgeons as a Level II Trauma Center.
In September, the American College of Surgeons, or ACS, Committee on Trauma conducted an intensive site visit and review, evaluating all phases and areas of trauma care to include the medical center's emergency department, blood bank, intensive care unit, operating rooms and rehabilitation facilities. Using the high standards outlined in their "Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient" manual, the committee determined that Walter Reed more than exceeded its requirements for verification.
Only 155 U.S. medical centers across the nation have met the comprehensive and rigorous criteria required by ACS to achieve this designation of excellence, officials said.
"This verification as a Level II Trauma Center is yet another testimony to the superb care we here at Walter Reed Bethesda provide every day for those we are privileged to serve," said Walter Reed Bethesda Director Brig. Gen. Jeffrey B. Clark.
Since 2001, Walter Reed Bethesda has cared for more than 5,000 of the nation's service members as they recovered from wounds of war. The staff embraced the patients' families as members of an extended health care team and supported each other as the tempo surged, officials said.
Walter Reed's staff commitment to the highest standards of patient care, patient safety, performance improvement, medical education, research and teamwork provides outstanding trauma care for wounded warriors, officials said. That's why they sought to benchmark their processes against national standards of care set forth by world experts in trauma care.
In researching the ACS criteria for trauma center verification and delivery of care to the injured patient, officials said they recognized that Walter Reed's well-established, multi-disciplinary, hospital-wide approach not only met, but in many cases exceeded, the rigorous criteria laid out by the ACS.
"I took this job and have practiced as a trauma surgeon for nearly 35 years, based on what I have learned through what you have just gone through, becoming a certified trauma center, I think it's probably the most important thing we can do," said Dr. David B. Hoyt, ACS executive director, at the presentation ceremony of the verification plaque.
It's about commitment, Hoyt said. He explained that it's about commitment to the standards of care, measuring performance on a daily basis through data systems and other processes.
Public assurance is developed by subjecting the hospital to external peer review and by letting someone from the outside come in and take a look, Hoyt said. He added that the plaque which will hang on the hospital wall really represents that commitment and "is a model for health care going forward."
"This designation represents an enduring commitment to extraordinarily high standards. What you have achieved is nothing short of truly amazing," said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr. Jonathan Woodson.
Walter Reed's American College of Surgeons verification as a Level II Trauma Center reflects a One-team, patient-centered approach involving more than 60 departments and services within the medical center, ranging from audiology to nutrition to pastoral care to surgical specialties, officials said. They explained the verification is a testament to a patient-centered, hospital-wide effort.
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is the world's largest joint military medical center and is known as the flagship of military medicine, officials said. They added it also here the nation heals our heroes, provides extraordinary experiences for patients, families, and drives tomorrow's healthcare advances through education, innovation and research.