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Speakers Describe Academic Medicine’s Vital Role in Trauma Care

May 10, 2013—Speakers from the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals (COBTH) and The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston described to a congressional audience the vital contributions academic medicine makes in providing and advancing trauma care. The AAMC sponsored the May 7 briefing, the first in a series highlighting the unique programs and services medical schools and teaching hospitals offer and the irreplaceable role these institutions fill in their communities.

William Mileski, M.D., director of the UTMB Level I trauma center, and Sandra Murdock, Dr.P.H., UTMB vice president for health system and service line operations, provided an overview of the extensive requirements facilities must meet to qualify for the Level I designation. Over 80 percent of Level I centers, which offer the highest level of trauma services, are located at AAMC-member institutions.

At the event, Drs. Mileski and Murdock explained how the UTMB trauma team responds to high-profile disasters with mass casualties, but also routinely treats victims of car accidents and other emergencies, with over 32 million people suffering injuries across the country each year. They spoke to the statewide impact of losing a Level I facility after Hurricane Ike forced the center to close for a year, and Dr. Mileski further emphasized the research and education missions associated with Level I trauma centers.

A third speaker, Mary Devine, M.P.H., emergency management coordinator for COBTH, described the rapid and comprehensive response of the local teaching hospitals in providing care to victims of the recent Boston Marathon bombing. Highlighting the preparation exercises Level I centers regularly coordinate, she noted that the hospitals had conducted a number of preparedness drills prior to the bombing.

Speakers also discussed the extensive costs associated with operating Level I trauma centers, which must be equipped to treat any trauma at any time. AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D., who moderated the briefing, pointed to Medicare Indirect Medical Education payments as one federal source of funding teaching hospitals rely upon to sustain the highest level of trauma care and other critical patient care services typically unavailable elsewhere. Panelists also described how major teaching hospitals serve their local communities, as well as offering access to complex care to patients throughout the region.


Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806