Atrium Health Floyd’s trauma program earns national recognition

Thursday, September 28, 2023–8:00 a.m.

-News Release-

Trauma patients from northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama have another reason to expect continued expertise from Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center, the state’s only Level II Trauma Center west of Gainesville and north of Atlanta.

Floyd Medical Center, which became the state’s first designated trauma center in 1981, has now been verified as a Level II Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

The ACS is a national scientific and educational association of surgeons dedicated to safeguarding standards of care.

Verified trauma centers that meet ACS standards provide optimal care and improved outcomes for injured patients. The designation will be up for verification again in three years.

Elements of Level II Trauma Centers:

 Include 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons, as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care

 Provide trauma prevention and continuing education programs for staff.

 Incorporate a comprehensive quality assessment program.

“Providing excellent trauma care under these rigorous standards requires dedication from our entire team as well as continuous planning and partnerships,” said Kurt Stuenkel, Atrium Health Floyd president. “I am proud of our team, their hard work, and the investments we have made to make the ACS verification a reality.”

Floyd’s Trauma Center serves 16 counties in Georgia and four counties in Alabama. There are no Level I Trauma Centers in the region.

Floyd is also the Region C Coordinating Hospital for Health Care Preparedness. Region C includes the counties of Bartow, Carroll, Chattooga, Coweta, Floyd, Haralson, Heard, and Polk.

To ensure it exceeds ACS standards, Floyd Medical Center has added Clarence “Mac" McKemie, M.D., Harbin Clinic general surgeon, as full-time trauma medical director. Harbin Clinic’s James Riley, M.D., and Alan Wilson, M.D., have also joined as trauma surgeons.

Chad Beck, M.D., joined Floyd as an orthopedic traumatologist, becoming the first in northwest Georgia to specialize in the repair of complex fractures that frequently occur with trauma. Those cases previously required transfer to other facilities. Jill Martin, M.D., also provides orthopedic surgery at Floyd Medical Center.

Orthopedics and neurosurgery are also key specialties in trauma care at Atrium Health Floyd. These services are provided with the support of doctors from Harbin Clinic Orthopedics and Rome Orthopedic Center, as well as neurosurgeons

John A. Cowan, Jr., M.D.; Jason Harrison, M.D., Ph.D.; and Alex Whitaker-Lea, M.D.

Floyd constructed a $4 million helipad for air ambulances at the North Second Avenue entrance to the hospital's Emergency Care Center in 2022.

The trauma center verification is central to a region-wide emphasis on emergency care for Atrium Health Floyd.

A stand-alone emergency department in Chattooga County is scheduled to open in October. The $18.4 million emergency facility will serve residents in Chattooga County and portions of Walker County and northeast Alabama. It will include six treatment rooms, an onsite laboratory and imaging services, including X-ray and a computed tomography (CT) scanner.

The 10,884-square-foot emergency department will also be home to a new mobile mammography unit to ensure more women have convenient access to lifesaving breast cancer screenings. A helipad will be located on-site, providing quick access to a higher level of care.

Atrium Health Floyd Polk Medical Center is recognized by the state as a Level IV Trauma Center. The hospital can provide advanced trauma life support, evaluation, diagnostics, and stabilization for injured patients. Patients requiring more complex care for traumatic, life-threatening injuries or illnesses have direct access to Floyd Medical Center in Rome.

Atrium Health Floyd’s trauma care is bolstered by its robust Emergency Medical Services network. Floyd EMS is a designated ambulance service provider for Floyd, Chattooga, and Cherokee County (Ala.) residents. Ambulances are stationed in multiple locations to ensure rapid response and quality medical care using a fleet of ambulances equipped with innovative technology and specially trained personnel.

“Our goal is to be ready when needed. This means we have doctors, nurses, operating room staff, imaging experts, and supporting staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Dr. Ken Jones, chief medical officer and senior vice president at Atrium Health Floyd. “If you come to us in an emergency, we are ready to treat you.”

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