Governor Brad Henry signs new health rules to boost trauma care

Tuesday, January 13th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Health rules geared toward creating a statewide trauma network have been signed by Gov. Brad Henry.

Henry said the emergency rules, signed Monday night, are a good first step in efforts to enhance trauma care services, including level one trauma care.

The rules were drafted and approved by the state Board of Health last week.

``By taking these actions, we can ensure Oklahomans have access to the kind of trauma care that can literally mean the difference between life and death,'' the governor said.

Efforts to improve the state's trauma care system intensified in November when the University of Oklahoma Medical Center announced plans to turn the state's only level one trauma care center into a basic hospital emergency room.

OU officials have agreed to keep the center open for at least another six months.

Among other things, the new rules require licensed hospitals to participate in regional systems that provide 24-hour emergency services.

They would also reserve level one trauma services for the most critical injuries, requiring hospitals that send level one patients to a trauma unit to take them back once their condition stabilizes.

``These rules will provide the foundation that is essential for the creation of a state-of-the-art, statewide trauma care system,'' Henry said.