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Washington County Hospital's trauma center may soon reopen

August 20, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Washington County Hospital's trauma center would not immediately need to be recertified by the state and could reopen as soon as hospital officials figure out how to provide 24-hour trauma care, a state official said Monday.

"They would have to show how the schedule is covered, and they could come back as a trauma center," said Mary Beachley, director of the office of hospital programs for the Maryland Institute for Emergency Management Services Systems.

MIEMSS is the organization that authorizes the accreditation of trauma centers statewide.

Hospital spokeswoman Maureen Theriault said she didn't know how long it would take to come up with a shift coverage plan.

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She said the hospital is working with the doctors to decide the schedule and hopes to have the center reopened on Labor Day weekend.

In addition to the shift coverage issue, she said the trauma center doctors are also negotiating the level of trauma service and compensation issues.

Beachley said the hospital's trauma center wouldn't need to be reaccredited until early next year, when it would have been up for review anyway.

She said trauma centers are reaccredited every five years.

Hospital officials have said they shut down the trauma center on June 1 because they could no longer promise 24-hour trauma care, which was a requirement of the hospital's trauma center operation.

The accredited designation is required for hospitals to operate trauma centers, Beachley said.

The process includes a six hour on-site visit from the state, thorough policy and records reviews, visits from out-of-state medical experts and examinations of shift coverage and patient care.

"It's a very involved process," she said. "We look at the full hospital."

Last year, it cost about $6.2 million to run the trauma center, a hospital official has said. The hospital has been contributing about $1.9 million to the center's operation.

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