Campus News

October 21, 2010

Take Note

Trauma system funding on Nov. ballot

Legislation passed by the Georgia General Assembly this year gives Georgia voters the chance to vote yes or no in the election on Nov. 2 for the state to charge an annual car registration fee of $10 to support trauma care throughout Georgia.

If approved, Amendment No. 2 will provide direct funding to expand trauma services in the state. Georgia currently lags behind other states in trauma care. The state has 16 trauma centers, including Grady Memorial Hospital, but needs as many as 30.

According to Kate Heilpern, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine in the medical school, the lack of trauma centers translates to a higher mortality rate for those needing trauma care.

"Georgia has a mortality rate from trauma that is 20 percent greater than the national average—equivalent to 600-700 additional deaths per year," she says. "The southern part of the state, particularly the southwest corner, faces significant challenges. Death rates from injuries in certain rural counties far exceed those in the large cities that have trauma centers."

Heilpern says that states with the best model for trauma care have a well-integrated and unified system that is funded partially through a mechanism similar to the one proposed via Amendment No. 2.

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