In another example of hospitals battling nurses over patient-care issues, Ohio's Association for Hospitals and Health Systems is stepping up its efforts to fight an attempt by a coalition of nurses in the state to implement a mandatory statewide trauma system.
Last month, a coalition of nursing groups asked the Ohio Legislature to enact a system that would direct severely injured patients to those hospitals best equipped and staffed to handle their medical needs.
The coalition, claiming membership of 12,000 nurses, includes the Ohio Nurses Association, the Ohio Society of Trauma Nurse Coordinators, the Ohio Council of Emergency Nurses Association and the Ohio Council for Operating Room Nurses.
They want Ohio to join 27 other states and the District of Columbia, which have mandatory trauma protocols. Two Ohio counties have voluntary protocols, but in some areas emergency patients are taken to the closest facility, which may not be capable of treating them.
The OAHHS, formerly called the Ohio Hospital Association, is fighting the legislation. It advocates voluntary trauma systems worked out by hospitals and emergency services teams in each community.
Association spokeswoman Mary Yost said it makes sense to hold off on legislation until a registry is established to track the treatment of severely injured patients.
"From our viewpoint, (the registry) is the first step we need to take before we jump the gun and come up with a mandated solution to a problem that maybe doesn't exist," Yost said.
A 1992 law called for such a registry, but five years later it still hasn't been implemented, at least in part because hospitals want to keep their patient data confidential. Under state law, the data would be public.
Advocates of a mandatory trauma system say data from other states show that mandatory systems save lives. Such systems require severely injured patients to be directed to trauma centers that have been certified by the American College of Surgeons or another designated organization.