Natchez hospitals receive new trauma designations

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 21, 2000

After months of examining the teams that administer emergency room care, Natchez’s two hospitals have new trauma center designations from the state health department. Both Natchez Regional Medical Center and Natchez Community Hospital have been named Level 3 trauma centers, a designation that gives them greater authority to treat emergency cases.

&uot;It’s a wonderful program,&uot; said Natchez Regional CEO Jack Houghton. &uot;It’s going to make a great difference in the way we deliver care.&uot;

Natchez Community spokeswoman Kay Ketchings said that hospital spent a year planning and getting staff both prepared and excited about the new designation.

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Both hospitals now have a designated trauma team.

&uot;In the new scenario, a fully formed team responds to trauma,&uot; Houghton said, describing the hospital’s trauma unit, which was necessary for the designation. &uot;(Members of the team) come from all aspects of the hospital.

&uot;This is a new concept and a new vehicle for delivery of care.&uot;

The trauma designation changes the level of compensation a hospital and its doctors receive for trauma care, Houghton said.

&uot;In the past, we had situations where doctors have not been paid for extensive (trauma) work they’ve done,&uot; Houghton said.

&uot;There are revenues for hospitals that participate in this system for doctors who render care to trauma patients.&uot;

Natchez Regional has reorganized its emergency department in preparation for the designation. Dr. Jeffrey Flatman, a new general surgeon at Natchez Regional, is the head of the trauma team. At Natchez Community, Dr. Keith Smith is trauma director, Ketchings said.