Floyd Medical Center, already recognized by Georgia as a Level II stroke and trauma center, has also received that designation from Alabama and will soon be included in that state’s Acute Health Systems network.
That network matches patients with member facilities through its command center in Birmingham, which is tied by computer to regional medical facilities throughout the Southeast.
Floyd Medical Center’s Emergency Care Center is expected to be linked to Birmingham by early 2020, informing Alabama officials about the hospital’s capacity in real time to treat trauma and stroke patients.
The system improves the chances of survival, regardless of proximity to an urban trauma center. Participating hospitals are inspected to verify that they can provide the level of care for which they have applied.
John Blue, the Acute Health Systems’ executive director for the eastern Alabama region, said the process allows the command center to quickly determine where a patient should be sent.
“Patients win when that happens,” Blue said.
Floyd EMS Director Bud Owens was immediately interested in joining when he first learned about Alabama’s program, and contacted Blue to discuss Floyd Medical Center’s inclusion.
“It just really makes sense for us to be part of the system,” said Owens. “We already provide ambulance service in northeast Alabama. When we become part of their system, more patients in that region will have access to stroke and trauma care at Floyd.”
Inclusion in the system also opens the door for Alabama EMS services to have the ability to transport patients to Floyd Medical Center if it is the closest appropriate facility for treatment, Owens said.
The process took several months to complete and included an on-site visit to Floyd Medical Center from Alabama officials.
Level 2 stroke centers are appropriate for patients when a Level 1 stroke center is more than two hours away from the patient’s location. Level II trauma and stroke centers often provide the same level of clinical care as Level I, but Level I centers also focus on research and education.