UH Lake West Medical Center Verified a Level 3 Trauma Center by the State of Ohio

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University Hospitals Lake West Medical Center

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio—University Hospitals (UH) Lake West Medical Center has been officially verified as a Level 3 Trauma Center by the state of Ohio, based on consultation from reviewers of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Verification, Review, and Consultation Program for excellence in trauma centers. The hospital’s initial visit with the ACS in August of 2022 granted UH Lake West a temporary Provisional Level 3 status which allowed the team to continue to build the trauma program. 

“This most recent visit by surveyors from the ACS in August 2023 was our Verification visit, which took place over the course of two days,” explained Ryan Szabo, RN, Trauma Coordinator at UH Lake West Medical Center. “Upon their review of our program they found that we had corrected all previous deficiencies and met the criteria standards put in place by the ACS to be recognized as a Verified Adult Level 3 Trauma Center.”

The ACS program is designed to help hospitals evaluate and improve trauma care as well as provide objective, external review of institutional capability and performance. This is accomplished by an on-site review and assessment of the hospital’s commitment, readiness, resources, policies, patient care, performance improvement and other features.

“I’m very proud of our UH Lake West team for securing this important Verification,” said Robyn Strosaker, MD, FAAP, President and Chief Operating Officer of UH Lake Health Medical Centers. “The ability to provide this level of care at UH Lake West will improve outcomes for patients in both Lake and Ashtabula counties. We are the only trauma center in the county that can provide higher acuity care. Since earning this status, we have doubled our amount of trauma activations and now have the ability to keep and care for 90 percent of our patients who come to us with trauma injuries, rather than transferring them to other hospitals.”

In order to become a Level 3 Trauma Center, a facility must demonstrate an ability to provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, surgery, intensive care and stabilization of injured patients and emergency operations.

Level 3 Trauma Centers have specific elements, including:

  • 24-hour immediate coverage by emergency medicine physicians and prompt availability of general surgeons and anesthesiologists
  • Incorporation of a comprehensive quality assessment program
  • Development of transfer agreements for patients requiring more comprehensive care at a Level 1 or Level 2 Trauma Center
  • Continued education of nursing and allied health personnel or the trauma team
  • Involvement with prevention efforts
  • An active outreach program for its referring communities

“Our community is in great hands should traumatic emergencies arise, since we’ve increased our ability to safely care for higher complexity patients close to home,” added Dr. Strosaker. “It’s crucial to deliver effective trauma care in the first hours after injury, and research shows 85 percent of all injuries can be safely cared for in a Level 3 Trauma Center. If our patients need additional resources, we can provide life- and limb-saving resuscitative measures and stabilize patients for transfer to our Level 1 Trauma Center in downtown Cleveland.”

Since securing the Level 3 Trauma Verification, the Emergency Department at UH Lake West Medical Center has also welcomed a new Medical Director and nurse managers.

In addition to UH Lake West Medical Center, 24/7 emergency services in Lake County are also available at UH TriPoint Medical Center in Concord. The medical helicopter program of the health system, UH AirMed, also operates a day base out of UH TriPoint. Staffed by physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who specialize in treating medical emergencies, UH Lake West and TriPoint emergency departments are designated by The Joint Commission as Primary Stroke Centers, and the UH Lake West emergency department is also an accredited chest pain center by the American College of Cardiology Accreditation Services.

UH operates a regional network of state-designated trauma centers to meet the needs of injured patients in Northeast Ohio, and is a member of the Northern Ohio Trauma System (NOTS), along with Cleveland Clinic and The MetroHealth System. NOTS provides coordinated regional trauma care to patients throughout Cuyahoga County and the seven-county Northeast Ohio region.

UH’s regional trauma network includes six additional existing Level 3 Trauma Centers: UH Elyria, Geauga, St. John, Parma and Portage medical centers, as well as Southwest General Health Center. UH Cleveland Medical Center and UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital are designated Level 1 Regional Trauma Centers. The UH Rainbow center is Cleveland's only Level I trauma center for children and adolescents, and has been a continuously verified Level 1 pediatric trauma center by the ACS for 25 years. Level 1 Trauma Centers provide leadership in education, research and system planning to ensure high-level care is accessible for any patient with complex and/or life-threatening injuries.
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