EMS and Trauma Care System Assessment



EMS & Trauma Assessment image

American College of Surgeons (ACS) Trauma System Assessment

The Department of Health works to ensure that Washington has a comprehensive, coordinated, statewide EMS and Trauma System.

In April of 2019, the American College of Surgeons conducted an assessment of Washington's current system.

ACS Trauma System Assessment – Public Forums

The department then held five public forums across the state to engage stakeholders and gather community feedback on the assessment from EMS and Trauma care providers, community members, legislators, Tribes, and others. (See below to learn more about the assessment and forums.)

ACS Trauma System Assessment – Min/Max Workgroup

To take action on the assessment and forum recommendations, the department created the Min/Max Workgroup. The workgroup will meet from February through May 2020 to develop an evidence-based methodology the department could use to determine the statewide minimum and maximum numbers of Level I and Level II trauma services our state needs to optimize patient outcomes. The department has appointed trauma medical experts from across the state to participate on the Min/Max Workgroup and provide their expertise. However, the result of this work was inconclusive of a defined methodology, and it was determined that there was a need to establish rules to further this work.

Min/Max Workgroup – Trauma Designation Rules

The department conducted rulemaking in 2023 towards the same goal but were unable to achieve adequate agreement and consensus on a defined methodology during rulemaking. The department rescinded its CR102 proposal (WSR23-11-166) for WAC 246-976-580 - Criteria for Trauma Designation on October 30, 2023. There is no rulemaking related to trauma designation currently underway or planned at this time.

Statewide Trauma Services Assessment

The department has determined that the next steps are to conduct a statewide trauma services assessment that can be used to inform state and regional planning activities for recommending the need and distribution of trauma services around the state. 

How this Work Will be Accomplished

Department staff will lead efforts to facilitate this work, convene stakeholders and develop the assessment. Many representatives of the Emergency Care System have provided valuable input and recommendations toward determining the trauma need in Washington over the past five years. This effort to develop a statewide Trauma Services Assessment will build upon those past contributions as we seek to further support and inform decision making in our system moving forward. 
Within this process, there are three distinct roles:   

  • Department – Tasked with developing and conducting the assessment, approving Regional EMS & Trauma Care Plans and trauma designation for facilities in the state.
  • Regional EMS and Trauma Councils – Leverage information from the assessment to inform regional planning activities and submit regional plans to the EMS and Trauma Steering Committee.
  • EMS and Trauma Steering Committee – Review, provide input and make recommendations on Regional EMS and Trauma Care Plans to the department.  

How to Engage in this Work  

In developing and carrying out the assessment, the department is seeking stakeholder input and feedback at three phases of the process. Three stakeholder engagement sessions will be held between February and September 2024 and are open to all members of the public. These virtual sessions will be held at the Outcomes Technical Advisory Committee meetings over the next eight months.   

To stay informed about this work and opportunities to participate, subscribe to this Gov Delivery email distribution list.

Below is the draft assessment intended for stakeholder input and feedback. This is a draft only and subject to change prior to the end of the project period in September 2024.

Statewide Trauma Service Assessment

Meeting Schedule

Meeting Date and Time Locations
February 15, 2024, 9:45 a.m. – noon, MS Teams Online
May 16, 2024, 9 a.m. – noon, MS Teams Online
September 24, 2024, 9 a.m. – noon, MS Teams Online
Questions or comments about this work may be sent to our trauma designation team.
Min/Max Workgroup

Meeting Schedule

Meeting Date and Time Location
November 10, 2020, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m., Zoom Online
November 24, 2020, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m., Zoom Online

Note: Comments, questions, or suggestions may be sent to HSQA.EMS@doh.wa.gov.

American College of Surgeons (ACS) Washington State EMS and Trauma Care System Final Report
Public Forum Materials
Public Forums Recommendations Summary

Statewide EMS and Trauma Assessment Forums Summary (PDF)