In August of 1995, the New Hampshire legislature enacted a statewide Trauma System law. By doing so, the legislature embraced a voluntary effort to provide all residents and visitors to the state with access to the same standards of trauma care, regardless of where or how a patient becomes injured.
The NH Trauma System is an inclusive one, meaning that every acute care hospital in New Hampshire routinely provides services to traumatically injured persons and is thus included in the trauma system. Hospitals are encouraged and assisted to actively participate in the system, and to achieve their highest level of active participation based on an assessment of the hospital’s capability.
Hospitals, ambulance services and first responder groups throughout the state have worked alongside the system’s leadership – the Trauma Medical Review Committee and the NH Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (NHBEMS) – to meet and exceed standards set forth for trauma care. Hospitals were asked to participate in a voluntary assessment of their administrative and clinical capabilities in trauma care by the system leadership. New Hampshire currently awards four levels of hospital assignment within the trauma system (Level I, Level II, Level III and Level IV) to those actively participating in the system.
Emergency Medical Services providers statewide were asked to utilize a uniform set of severity indicators when identifying high-risk trauma patients. Guidelines were introduced for how out-of-hospital providers communicate with the hospital about their trauma patients as well as guidelines for the transport decision making process.
Today, the trauma system is established throughout the state. Members of the Trauma Medical Review Committee and the NHBEMS are working together, along with participating hospitals, to continuously improve the delivery of care to seriously injured persons in NH.