Opposition to the ACSVRC process by hospitals and staff is no doubt rooted in cost concerns and general resistance to change. But, as most of us know, demonstrated benefits for patient care can be highly persuasive to most medical professionals.
It is also worth noting that in an effort to decrease stress, the ACSVRC takes significant steps to support facilities that seek verification by eliminating ambiguity from application to on-site visit, by defining criteria deficiencies, and by providing evidence for the entire verification process. The complete VRC program along with an FAQ is available on the ACS website (facs.org/quality-programs/trauma/vrc).
For me, trauma care has always been about what is best for the injured patient. I often ask colleagues this question: “What care do you want for an injured member of your family?” I then answer my own question: “I want the best care possible. That means organized, efficient, and life-saving [care] if needed.” Fortunately, I experienced these benefits at my verified trauma center hospital when my second son was in a rollover motor vehicle crash. He survived.
Verified rural trauma centers do indeed offer the best opportunities for high-quality patient care and for support of the rural surgeons who render that care to “serve all with skill and fidelity.” I know. I have been there.
Dr. Caropreso is a general surgeon at Keokuk (Iowa) Area Hospital and clinical professor of surgery at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City. He has practiced surgery in the rural communities of Mason City, Iowa; Keokuk, Iowa; and Carthage, Ill., for 37 years.