The Level 1 trauma center at 651-bed Oklahoma University Medical Center will receive $7.2 million a year in additional Medicaid funds after action by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. The hospital had planned to close the trauma center in December 2003 but agreed to a six-month delay while the city and state addressed various problems. The trauma center had an annual Medicaid shortfall of $6.5 million, a state official said, and the hospital claimed to have lost $9 million on the service since opening it three years ago. The larger problem was a statewide trauma system that poured patients into the medical center regardless of the level of care needed, hospital spokesman Allen Poston said. "We were catching (trauma level) ones, twos and threes; we were catching them all," Poston said. "If a Level 2 occurs now, there will be a rotation basis with the other hospitals."
Meanwhile, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, has been re-verified as a Level 1 trauma center by the American College of Surgeons after a two-year hiatus. The 903-bed hospital first earned Level 1 status in 1995 but did not reapply in 2002 in the midst of a fiscal crisis. While the ACS verification has no legal force in Michigan, it has a symbolic value in indicating the hospital's total commitment to serving the most critically needy patients, said Scott Dulchavsky, chairman of the hospital's surgery department. -- by Modern Physician/MP Stat