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June 1995

Analysis of American College of Surgeons Trauma Consultation Program

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia (Dr Mitchell); the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas (Dr Thal); and the Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa (Dr Wolferth).

Arch Surg. 1995;130(6):578-584. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430060016003

Objective:  To identify the criteria deficiencies found during peer consultation of hospitals and the relationship to subsequent verification.

Methods:  Between September 1987 and December 1992, 52 hospitals had consultation visits using American College of Surgeons criteria. Each report was studied for deficiencies, frequency of deficiencies, and relationship to verification.

Results:  There are 108 American College of Surgeons criteria. Thirty-five different criteria deficiencies were found. The number of deficiencies per hospital ranged from zero to 12. The more frequent deficiencies included a lack of the following: quality improvement, 35 (67%); trauma service, 20 (38%); trauma surgeon in emergency department, 20 (38%); 24-hour operating room availability, 17 (33%); trauma registry, 17(33%): trauma continuing medical education, 16 (31%); trauma director, 15 (29%); computed tomography technician in hospital, 15 (29%); research, 14 (27%); trauma coordinator, 14 (27%); and neurosurgeon availability, 13 (25%). No hospital that lacked commitment of surgeons (n=12) or hospital (n=3) requested a verification visit. Twenty-four hospitals (46%) achieved verification by February 1994. Twenty-eight hospitals had six or fewer deficiencies, with 19 (68%) verified. Twenty-four hospitals had seven or more deficiencies, with only five (21%) subsequently verified. Verification visits followed consultation by 3 to 52 months. Two hospitals with nine deficiencies were verified after 30 and 48 months, although one failed its first verification visit.

Conclusions:  American College of Surgeons consultation assists hospitals to identify their trauma center capability and appears to improve their ability to pass subsequent trauma center verification. Most criteria deficiencies are correctable. Lack of commitment by the surgeons or hospital is difficult to correct. There is an inverse relationship between the number of deficiencies and subsequent verification.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:578-584)