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Access to Trauma Care

Getting the Right Care, at the Right Place, at the Right Time


What is a trauma center?

A trauma center is a type of hospital that has resources and equipment needed to help care for severely injured patients. The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma classifies trauma centers as Level I to Level IV. A Level I trauma center provides the highest level of trauma care while Level IV trauma centers provide initial trauma care and transfer to a higher level of trauma care if necessary. All levels of trauma centers (Level I to Level IV) and hospitals are critical components of trauma systems. Trauma systems help to ensure that the millions of people injured each year get the right care, at the right place, at the right time. The right care can help people continue to live to their full potential, despite having experienced a severe injury.

Why is being near a trauma center important?

If you’ve experienced a mild or moderate injury, the thousands of emergency departments (EDs) across the nation are ready with basic emergency services to help you heal. But, if you are severely injured, having fast access to specialized resources and equipment is critical. CDC-supported research shows a 25% reduction in deaths for severely injured patients who receive care at a Level I trauma center rather than at a non-trauma center.

Where is the trauma center closest to me?

To find the trauma center closest to you, click on your state in the trauma center map. You will see the name, address, and level of the trauma center that is closest to you. The dark areas in the map indicate that emergency medical responders can transport injured patients by ambulance or helicopter to a Level I or II trauma center within an hour. Patients injured in the white areas of the map cannot be transported within an hour to a Level I or II trauma center because those trauma centers are not as close as they are in the dark areas.

What is being done to improve trauma center access?

CDC is working to raise awareness about access to and locations of trauma centers in the United States so that people can live to their fullest potential – despite severe injuries they may experience. CDC is working closely with organizations and agencies at the state and local level to identify needs and provide tools and information about trauma care.

In addition, since all injuries do not need to be treated at a trauma center, CDC is providing the "Field Triage Decision Scheme: The National Trauma Triage Protocol" (Decision Scheme), to help emergency medical responders better and more quickly determine if an injured person needs care at a trauma center. The Decision Scheme is based on current best practices in trauma triage. Widespread use can help ensure that injured people get the right level of care as quickly as possible.

To develop the Decision Scheme, CDC brought together a broad range of experts, including representatives from emergency medical services, emergency medicine, private organizations, public health, and several federal agencies. For more information, see Decision Scheme.

What can I do to promote trauma center awareness?

Individuals:
  • Use the map to locate the trauma center nearest to you and share the map and fact sheet with others.
  • Use the promotion materials below to raise awareness about access to trauma centers and help identify the need for a trauma center in your community.
Organizations and agencies:
  • Place the Web button on your homepage or Web page or link directly to CDC’s Web site at www.cdc.gov/TraumaCare.
  • Use the promotion materials below to raise awareness about access to trauma centers among your memberships.

Fact Sheet

Trauma Center Fact Sheet cover

Know the Facts: Injuries are the leading cause
of death for children and adults ages 1—44.

Map

Trauma Centers Map

View an interactive map with U.S. trauma centers.

 
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