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Vail Health Hospital designated Level III Trauma Center

Designation earned by Vail Health since 1998
Vail Health Hospital was once again declared a Level III Trauma Center by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The designation is earned by hospitals every three years, and Vail Health Hospital has achieved it for the past 23 years since 1998.
“To receive this prestigious designation once again speaks volumes to the dedication of our staff and the high-level of trauma services they provide to our community and those visiting from around the world,” said Will Cook, Vail Health President and CEO. “With the new Emergency Department in the East Wing that opened a year ago, we are beyond pleased to have provided our staff with updated facilities and advanced technology to meet the high quality of patient care they consistently provide.”

Vail Health Hospital is a 24-hour Level III Trauma Center staffed by board-certified physicians. Emergency trauma care is available to infants, pediatrics, adolescents and adults of all ages. Highly-trained staff is qualified to care for medical emergencies and stabilization of critical patients with full resuscitation capabilities. Walk-in patients are treated promptly and efficiently. The Emergency Department serves the emergency medical needs of the community and visitors.

“Trauma is a continuum that starts in the field and goes through discharge home,” said Elizabeth Kruger, Vail Health Trauma Program Manager. “I’m proud of the collaboration between the Trauma Team from Eagle County Paramedic Services, our Emergency Department, Surgical Services, Inpatient Nursing Departments, Anesthesia, Lab, Respiratory, Orthopedics and, of course, our extraordinary injury prevention program. Without these relationships the trauma care delivered to this community would not be possible.” 

Trauma centers across the United States are identified by a designation process and a verification process. The different levels (i.e. Level I, II, III, IV or V) refer to the kinds of resources available within a trauma center and the number of patients admitted yearly. Being at a Level I Trauma Center provides the highest level of surgical care for trauma patients. Trauma Center designation is a process outlined and developed at a state or local level. The state or local municipality identifies unique criteria in which to categorize Trauma Centers. 

A Level III Trauma Center has demonstrated an ability to provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, surgery, intensive care, and stabilization of injured patients and emergency operations.

“This designation is significant because it shows we provide excellent outcomes for trauma patients cared for at Vail Health,” said Kruger. “Without a trauma center designation, injured patients would have to be immediately transferred outside our county for further care. This Level III designation allows them to seek emergency care within our community.”

Elements of a Level III Trauma Center include:

  • 24-hour immediate coverage by emergency medicine physicians and the prompt availability of general surgeons, orthopedics and anesthesiologists;
  • Incorporates a comprehensive quality assessment program;
  • Has developed transfer agreements for patients requiring more comprehensive care at a Level I or Level II Trauma Center;
  • Provides back-up care for rural and community hospitals;
  • Offers continued education of the nursing and allied health personnel or the trauma team;
  • Injury efforts and must have an active outreach program for its referring communities.