House Passes Trauma Care Bill
March 27, 2007
Washington, DC - The House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday designed to dramatically improve medical response to traumatic injuries.
We want to get help to injured people within that golden hour, Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who sponsored the bill, said. Doctors refer to the first hour after a traumatic injury occurs as a golden hour, when treatment is most effective in saving lives.
Green said that trauma and emergency medical care are vital to response efforts in the face of natural disasters, terrorist threats and chemical spills in addition to the everyday accidents that clog hospitals around the country.
This issue first came to my attention a few years ago, Green said. On Halloween a young man was hit by a car. He had serious injuries to his head, chest and legs, but Houstons trauma facilities were completely full. He was transported to Austin for care, but died the next day. He didnt get the help he needed in that golden hour.
The Houston area, which Green represents, is home to the Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann Level 1 Trauma Centers, which are increasingly forced to turn away seriously injured people due to emergency room overcrowding. According to the Institute of Medicine, 20,000 to 25,000 trauma deaths each year can be prevented by quicker access to trauma care.
Green began work on the Trauma Care Systems Planning and Development Act (H.R. 727), in 2003. The bill reauthorizes federal trauma care programs under the Public Health Service Act and helps states improve their trauma systems. It also streamlines the way the Health Resources and Services Administration manages trauma care and emergency medical services. It aims to enhance communication and coordination between the state and federal levels. Federal grants to the states would be contingent upon development of a plan to upgrade state trauma care systems.
It also includes provisions for improving trauma care in rural areas, where response time is often much slower than in cities where emergency facilities are nearby.
A senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Green serves as Vice Chairman of the Health Subcommittee. His district incorporates parts of Houston and its metro area, including Aldine, Northside and the East End, Baytown, Channelview, South Houston, Pasadena, Galena Park, and Jacinto City.