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Rice Hospital trauma designation renewed

WILLMAR — The Minnesota Department of Health recently re-designated Rice Memorial Hospital as a Level III trauma hospital.

The designation process included an outside review of the hospital's resources and capabilities to care for trauma patients. Rice Memorial Hospital met standards of commitment, clinical and equipment resources, and staff training. The hospital also participates in a continuous performance improvement process.

"Being a Level III provider in Minnesota's trauma system is a big commitment for Rice Hospital, its staff, and the physician staff," said Dr. Steven Bell, trauma medical director for Rice. "Our preparation and training is a real asset to trauma victims in our area."

For a severely injured person, the time between sustaining an injury and receiving definitive care is the most important predictor of survival. A trauma system enhances the chance of survival regardless of proximity to an urban trauma hospital. The goal of having a system is to decrease injured patients' time to care by making sure their medical needs are approximately matched with hospital resources.

On average, trauma claims the lives of 2,400 Minnesotans annually, making it the third leading cause of death in the state. States with trauma systems have seen survival rates increase by 15 to 20 percent. Wide-scale participation in the voluntary trauma system ensures that a statewide, cooperative effort is in place to care for seriously injured patients. Minnesota began developing a comprehensive statewide trauma system in 2005.