- University Hospitals in Cleveland has announced plans to launch a regional trauma network.
- As part of this initiative, its primary hospital, UH Case Medical Center, is working to become certified as a Level 1 trauma center.
- The network will include the UH Level 1 trauma center, the system's four existing Level III trauma centers and UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, the region's only pediatric and adolescent Level 1 trauma center.
According to UH officials, its Level 1 trauma center will fill a void, especially on Cleveland's East side which has been plagued by hospital closures, including two Level 1 trauma centers, over the last 20 years. (UH Case Medical Center, which currently has no trauma designation, has received an influx of trauma patients since Cleveland Clinic's Huron hospital closed in 2011.)
Despite current access concerns, UH's jump into trauma is a bold move that puts its primary hospital, UH Case Medical Center, in direct competition with Level I trauma center MetroHealth Medical. MetroHealth is part of a trauma health network—Northern Ohio Trauma System—that was launched in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic five years ago. There's some drama here: UH says it has never been invited to participate in the network, while MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros says he has personally extended the offer three times.
Boutros expressed concerns to Crain's that the increased competition would hurt patients, saying that trauma deaths tend to increase in areas with competiting trauma centers. In addition, he expressed some concerns about the quality of care UH will be able to offer:
"It took us decades of collaboration and teamwork to be able to get to this level of care," Boutros said. "It is impossible to believe (UH) can do that from day one."