Community Hospital earns higher trauma rating

Community Hospital has been designated a Level III trauma center, meaning the Grand Junction hospital can treat patients with more severe conditions, including those transported from facilities with lower designations.

The trauma division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced the designation of Community Hospital has been upgraded from Level IV to Level III.

“Becoming a Level III trauma center continues our mission to grow and expand the clinical capabilities of Community Hospital and increase the health care options for the entire Grand Valley,” said Chris Thomas, president and chief executive officer of Community Hospital.

Dr. Donald Nicolay, chief medical officer for Community Hospital, said the emergency department, trauma staff and others worked hard to obtain the higher designation. “The journey we have taken over the past several years to obtain a higher trauma level demonstrates our commitment to excellence and the team philosophy of Community Hospital.”

The emergency department in the new building into which Community Hospital moved last year can accommodate a 50 percent increase in visits over what was available in the old hospital. The radiology department is located adjacent to the emergency department, making it quick and easy to take the X-rays and other images used to diagnose injuries and ailments.

The American College of Surgeons evaluates hospitals for trauma care, including such factors as commitment, patient care,  performance improvement, policies, readiness and resources. Trauma levels range from the highest at Level I for a research hospital to the lowest at Level V for facilities that offer initial evaluation and stabilization before transferring patients elsewhere.