HOUSTON (July 06, 2016)

Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital and Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital have embarked on a journey towards earning Level II trauma verification from the American College of Surgeons.

Life Flight HelicopterMemorial Hermann The Woodlands began providing services as a Level II trauma center on March 1 and Memorial Hermann Southwest will begin providing services as a Level II trauma center in the spring of 2017.

Currently, the Houston metro area and its population of more than six million people are served by two Level I trauma centers, Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute and Ben Taub Hospital.

“For years, we have been underserved as a community from a Level I trauma care perspective and outside Memorial Hermann and Ben Taub, no one else has stepped up to meet that need,” says Chuck Stokes, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Memorial Hermann. “Access to high-quality trauma care saves lives. That’s the single most important reason why Memorial Hermann has chosen to upgrade trauma capabilities for two of its facilities – Memorial Hermann Southwest and Memorial Hermann The Woodlands.”

The addition of two Level II trauma centers will help to ease the burden on Memorial Hermann’s only Level I trauma center – the busiest trauma center in the country - and provide more immediate access to a higher level of trauma care to communities north and south of the Texas Medical Center. To provide a seamless continuum of care, Memorial Hermann Southwest and Memorial Hermann The Woodlands will work very closely with the trauma team at the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute. The Institute is also home to Memorial Hermann Life Flight®, the only hospital-based air ambulance program serving the Greater Houston area and its surrounding communities within a 150-mile radius of the Texas Medical Center with helicopters, and worldwide using fixed-wing transport.

“Our goal is to provide an integrated trauma network that can better meet the needs of Houston and our growing communities,” says Dr. Michelle McNutt, Interim Chief of Trauma, Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute and assistant professor of surgery, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “Memorial Hermann The Woodlands and Memorial Hermann Southwest make sense geographically and have much of the infrastructure necessary to elevate to Level II status already in place.”

To receive the Level II trauma center verification, a hospital must undergo a rigorous review process and is required to have 24-hour availability of a medical team consisting of specially trained healthcare providers who have expertise in the care of severely injured patients. Among the many requirements are intensive trauma education for staff, availability of sub-specialty services like orthopedics, neurosurgery and cardiovascular care as well as trauma-certified emergency room physicians and rapid access to surgical care.

“For nearly four decades, Memorial Hermann Southwest has provided exceptional care to our growing community,” says Gary Kerr, Sr. Vice President and CEO, Memorial Hermann Southwest. “There is a need for a higher level of trauma and critical care in our community and we’re prepared to meet that need to ensure the neighborhoods in southwest Houston and communities like Missouri City and Sugar Land have better access to the high level of trauma care we can provide.”

Memorial Hermann Southwest will build out two intensive care units and an operating room suite dedicated to the treatment of advanced neurosurgery and trauma patients. The hospital will be adding seven highly specialized affiliated physicians in neurosurgery and orthopedics as well as approximately 50 additional employees to support the trauma program.

As part of the verification process, a hospital must first operate as a Level II trauma center for a period of time before final verification can be given. Memorial Hermann The Woodlands began its journey nearly two years ago.

“To be successful and fulfill our mission to ‘Advance Health,’ we must grow with the community,” says Josh Urban, Sr. Vice President and CEO, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands. “Our patients expect us to offer them the full spectrum of quality care where they live and work and our intent is to exceed that expectation.”

To support the new trauma capabilities, the team at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands has expanded to include ten new affiliated physicians and approximately 50 additional employees. Memorial Hermann The Woodlands has also upgraded its infrastructure adding additional surgical and intensive care unit beds; a second Life Flight helipad on Campus; and, most recently the addition of 3,400 square-feet including seven treatment rooms and three state-of-the-art trauma rooms to its emergency center bringing the total footprint of the unit to 32,400 square-feet.

As a System, Memorial Hermann operates two Level IV trauma centers at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital and Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital. Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital and Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital both operate Level III trauma centers.