The Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation (PTSF) is a non-profit corporation recognized by the Emergency Medical Services Act (Act 1985-45). The PTSF is the organization responsible for accrediting trauma centers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Trauma centers are hospitals with resources immediately available to provide optimal care and reduce the likelihood of death or disability to injured patients. Accredited trauma centers must be continuously prepared to treat the most serious life-threatening and disabling injuries. They are not intended to replace the traditional hospital and its emergency department for minor injuries.
In Pennsylvania, there are four levels of trauma centers. Level I trauma centers provide the highest degree of resources with a full spectrum of specialists and must have trauma research and surgical residency programs. Level II trauma centers meet the same high level of care but do not require research and residency programs and the following subspecialists: cardiac surgery, hand surgery, vascular re-implantation, oral/maxillofacial surgery, otorhinolaryngological surgery, neurology, physiatry and psychiatry. Level III trauma centers are smaller community hospitals that do not require neurosurgeons and focus on stabilizing severe trauma patients prior to transport to a higher level trauma center. They may admit patients with mild and moderate injuries. Level IV trauma centers provide enhanced care to injured patients within the emergency department and focus on stabilization and quick transfer to a higher level trauma center. They may admit mildly injured patients.
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