A board composed partially of representatives from local trauma centers recommended not designating any of three new applicants as a Level 3 trauma center during a meeting Wednesday afternoon.
The Regional Trauma Advisory Board, which makes a recommendation to the Southern Nevada Health District Board of Health on trauma center applications, voted to reject approval of authorization for the Level 3 trauma centers sought by Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center, Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center and MountainView Hospital.
The hospitals applied in the fall to receive Level 3 designation, the lowest trauma designation recognized by the Southern Nevada Trauma System. Level 3 centers provide "definitive care to the less severely injured patients" and work to support any Level 1 and 2 facilities in the trauma system, which can provide care to more severely injured patients, according to the Southern Nevada Trauma System.
In Southern Nevada, St. Rose Dominican Hospital - Siena is the only Level 3 trauma center, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center functions as the sole Level 2 facility and UMC is the only Level 1 facility.
Pam Udall, spokeswoman for UNLV's School of Medicine, told the board during public comment she worries about the harm to UMC if other Level 3 trauma centers are approved.
UMC Department of Trauma Services Medical Director John Fildes presented data showing a decline in UMC patient admissions since St. Rose and Sunrise became trauma centers. He said adding three trauma centers at once could lead to a dismantling of UMC resources.
"You can actually see that 10 years later we're still not back to normal," he said.
Fildes instead suggested the formation of a needs-based assessment task force, which would review the community's trauma needs and assess the impact of adding new trauma centers in the future. He suggested all three applicants be invited to become part of the task force.
During a second session of public comment, registered nurse Jennifer Renner, emergency services director for HCA's Far West division, said the hospitals have formally objected to the board's role in the authorization process. HCA operates MountainView and Southern Hills.
"Earlier this week, MountainView and Southern Hills submitted a letter to the Office of Emergency Medical Services raising concerns about the potential for bias and conflicts of interest among the RTAB members and asking the office to obtain an independent third party to conduct a needs assessment and evaluate the applications," Renner said.
The Office of Emergency Medical Services & Trauma System gathered the data on the trauma system that was presented to board members at Wednesday's meeting.
Centennial Hills Hospital CEO Sajit Pullarkat declined to comment after the meeting.