NEWS RELEASE-Immediate Release

February 11, 2022

Tuba City Health Care re-approved as a Level III Trauma Center

TUBA CITY, Ariz –The Navajo Nation’s only Trauma center at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation has been reverified as a Level III Trauma Center by the Verification Review Committee (VRC), an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma (COT) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This achievement recognizes the trauma center's dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients.

“The Committee on Trauma would like to extend its congratulations to the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation on its reverification as a Level III trauma center for a period of one year through December 10, 2022,” wrote William Marx, Chair of the Verification Review Committee, in a letter to TCRHCC.

The American College of Surgeons is a national scientific and educational association of surgeons founded in 1913. In 1987, the College established the COT's Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals and promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the prehospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

Since 2014, TCRHCC has held the Level III Trauma Center health care distinction. The distinction enables the hospital to see and take care of more critically injured patients. The only other Native American Level III trauma center is in Anchorage, Alaska.

Across the state of Arizona there are 11 verified Level III ACS trauma centers. TCRHCC is number 12 on the list. By comparison, Flagstaff Medical Center is a Level I Trauma Center.

“Verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance, as outlined by the American College of Surgeons' Committee on Trauma in its current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual,” said TCRHCC CEO Lynette Bonar.

However, TCRHCC still has limitations on head and spine injuries - those patients are still treated in Flagstaff or Phoenix. In addition to providing a higher quality of care, trauma surgeons and orthopedic surgeons are on call 24-7, the trauma process is tracked so it is up to the standard that ACS sets for trauma center

"Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation holds very high standards for its trauma staff,” said Dr. Ralph Zane Kelley, Chief of Surgery, Trauma Medical Director at TCRHCC. “The ER at Tuba City is staffed by ER residency trained, board certified ER physicians around the clock. Tuba City employs a full staff of board certified general (trauma) and orthopedic surgeons, these groups include a fellowship trained trauma surgeon and a fellowship trained trauma orthopedic surgeon as well.”

Common elements of Level III Trauma Centers Include:

  • 24-hour immediate coverage by emergency medicine physicians and the prompt availability of general surgeons and anesthesiologists.
  • Incorporates a comprehensive quality assessment program.
  • Has developed transfer agreements for patients requiring more comprehensive care at a Level I or Level II Trauma Center.
  • Offers continued education of the nursing and allied health personnel or the trauma team.
  • Involved with prevention efforts and must have an active outreach program for its referring communities.

The Emergency Medicine team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Emergency patients at TCRHCC Hospital also benefit from the latest in imaging technology, including a 128-slice CT scanner and 3.0T MRI. This state-of-the-art imaging equipment produces the most detailed imagery, making it possible for physicians to quickly diagnose and treat. The hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) has a dedicated clinical team to accommodate the most critical ill patients. The staff provides critical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and coordinates post-hospital care for all patients.

Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation is a Joint Commission accredited 73-bed health center that provides services to a 6,000 square mile area and serves as a referral center for the western region of the Navajo and Hopi Reservations. TRCHCC is a P.L. 93-638 health care facility and operates the Sacred Peaks Clinic in Flagstaff, Ariz. and LeChee Healthy Facility near Page, Ariz.


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