Mackinac Straits Health System recognized as Level IV Trauma Center

The MSHS Trauma Team. Back row, left to right are Tammy Lovitt, Kacey Wojan, Debbie Lull, and Megan Swain. Front row, left to right are Cindy Donajkowski, Jamie Menominee, Carol Elmblad, and Dr. Susan Strich. Not pictured, but valuable members of the Trauma Committee were Karen Yoder, Tobey Mitchell, Angie Amble, Sheryl Thayer, Chase Izzard, and Mark Wilk.

What's happening: The Mackinac Straits Health System (MSHS) is now certified as a Level IV Trauma Center, giving a much needed boost to increased healthcare capacity in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Level IV trauma centers have additional accreditation to provide stabilization and assessment for initial treatment or to more quickly transfer patients to a higher-accredited trauma facility, both of which can help save the lives. Currently, the Upper Peninsula has only one Level I Trauma Center -- in Marquette -- while many smaller hospitals across the region are struggling to keep emergency rooms and rapid response units operational. 

Connecting the peninsulas: One of the odder issues of medical care in the Straits area centers around the water boundaries themselves. MSHS deals with increased summer population and seasonal workers on Mackinac Island; traffic and weather conditions can impact the availability of crossing the Mackinac Bridge. Now, MSHS healthcare staff can take that experience in dealing with the unique geographical challenges of the area and translate it into helpful techniques in transport.

What they're saying: “Becoming a designated Level IV Trauma Center requires continuous performance improvement initiatives, projects and continued staff education to remain well prepared to treat our community,” said Susan Strich, Trauma Program medical director and longtime Emergency Room physician in St. Ignace. “To be certified, we had to demonstrate the ability to provide evaluations, as well as stabilize and diagnose injured patients. Other elements included having 24-hour laboratory coverage and have trained trauma nurses and physicians upon patient arrival.”

What's next: The Level IV designation also allows MSHS to have additional educational opportunities for both the public and local healthcare professionals. The area will use this to help grow skills for MSHS staff and retain better levels of talent in the healthcare industry.
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