In the United States, trauma centers are identified through a designation process and a verification process. The criteria for the designation of a trauma center varies from state to state, and the designation process itself is the responsibility of state or regional authorities and not healthcare organizations. The trauma center level (Level I- Level V) refers to the resources available to care for a trauma patient. A Level I trauma center can provide the highest level of care for a patient presenting after a traumatic injury. A Level IV or V trauma center will stabilize an injured patient and arrange for transfer to a higher level of care. This designation is unique for adult and pediatric facilities.
Trauma centers are evaluated and verified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) to improve trauma care. The ACS provides verification of trauma centers, not a designation. It verifies that the facility has the resources available for the trauma patient. The ACS will evaluate a facility's preparedness, resources, policies, and quality improvement process. Verification by the ACS is valid for three years.
Trauma centers are verified as an adult or pediatric trauma centers. It is not uncommon for hospitals to have designations for different levels for adult and pediatric populations. The criteria for trauma centers verified by the ACS are as follows. 
A Level I Trauma Center is a tertiary care hospital that offers a comprehensive approach to the trauma patient from injury through rehabilitation. Key components include:
A Level II Trauma Center initiates the treatment of all trauma patients. Key components include:
A Level III Trauma Center provides prompt assessment, management, surgery, and stabilization for trauma patients. Key components include:
A Level IV Trauma Center can provide Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) to trauma patients before transfer to a higher level of care. Key components include:
A Level V Trauma Center can provide evaluation, initial management, and preparation before transfer to a higher level of trauma care. Key components include:
Research has shown that trauma management given at a designated trauma center is superior compared to trauma management at a facility that is not designated as a trauma center. Mortality risk from trauma is significantly lower if patients receive care at a designated trauma center.
Approximately 80% of errors in medicine are a result of inadequate communication. High-risk environments include trauma facilities. Interprofessional teamwork and development should focus on communication, shared responsibility, collective decision-making, and understanding the roles of team members.
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