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What Reform Really Needs to be About

Christine Craig is the Director of WakeMed’s Government Affairs Department

One of WakeMed’s top health care reform priorities currently being discussed is funding for the nation’s trauma centers.  There are currently six level 1 trauma centers in North Carolina, one of which is on WakeMed Raleigh Campus.  WakeMed serves as the Capital City’s trauma center.  Providing this high level of care does not come without a cost.  Level 1 trauma designation demands a tremendous financial commitment to staff a hospital with the level of specialists needed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Additionally, as more and more individuals lack adequate insurance coverage, trauma centers often provide the most intensive, expensive clinical care to patients who are unable to pay for the care provided.

Language currently exists in both the House and Senate bills that would provide essential financial support to our nation’s trauma centers.  And both pieces of legislation offer funding opportunities to support the core mission of trauma centers.  The Senate bill also offers additional funding to help cover uncompensated costs associated with treating high volumes of patients who are covered by Medicaid or do not have insurance.

Additionally, the House bill provides “emergency relief” in the form of financial assistance to trauma centers during natural disasters and/or terrorist attacks.  Trauma centers are “first-receivers” during emergency events.

WakeMed is discussing these important issues with our Congressional delegation, some of whom have had the opportunity to tour WakeMed and meet our trauma patients.  They saw firsthand how a community resource, like a trauma center, can make a tremendous difference in patients’ lives.

This post is the first in a series about WakeMed Health Care Reform priorities