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Study: Hospitals Keep Trauma Patients

A new study shows that critically injured patients with health insurance are more likely to stay put at non-trauma hospitals than be transferred to more skilled facilities, according to Kaiser Health News and NPR.

More than 4,5000 trauma cases at 636 American hospitals were reviewed in the Stanford University study published in the February issue of the journal JAMA Surgery.

Florida hospitals were among the facilities included in the six-state Southern region, Dr. Kit Delgado, the study’s lead author, told Health News Florida.

Researchers looked at what happened to critically injured patients who were initially treated at hospitals without designated trauma centers, the KHN report says. Patients with private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid all were more likely to stay put, researchers say.

Hospitals in 28 states participated in the 2009 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, the source of data for the Stanford study. The South accounted for that largest group of severely injured patients reviewed as part of the analysis.

The report says critically injured patients are 25 percent less likely to die if they are treated at a trauma center, which requires more round-the-clock specialists than a traditional emergency department.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.