EDINBURG The Rio Grande Valley Trauma Regional Advisory Council hosted its quarterly meeting at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance on Friday, Oct. 21.

The primary mission of the Rio Grande Valley Trauma Regional Advisory Council is to address trauma system development and to facilitate communication, equipment, training and funds for local hospital personnel through the Texas Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP).

The Texas Legislature wanted trauma care resources to be available to every citizen. The creation of a regionalized trauma system throughout the state was mandated in 1989. Rules for implementation of the trauma system were adopted by the Texas Board of Health in January 1992. These rules divided the State into 22 regions called Trauma Service Areas (TSA's), which required each region to develop a Regional Advisory Council (RAC). Each RAC was then charged with developing and implementing a regional trauma system plan.

The Mission of the Rio Grande Valley Trauma Regional Advisory Council is to (1) Encourage multi-community participation in providing trauma care. Ensuring the most efficient, consistent, and expeditious care or each individual who experiences an acute injury; (2) Enhance assessment, triage and communication between pre-hospital providers and hospitals to facilitate treatment and transportation of patients to the most appropriate trauma facility; and (3) Attain funding resources for medical and public trauma education and awareness.

The State of Texas designates funds that each Trauma Regional Advisory Council will receive. The Rio Grande Valley is designated as Trauma Service Area "V". Its members are comprised of 16 hospital or healthcare facility representatives from Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy and Star Counties. Development of the Rio Grande Valley TRAC began in 1993.

Matthew Baker, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Emergency Management Coordinator, estimates that Doctors Hospital at Renaissance has received approximately $40,000 to $50,000 of supplies, web based services, and equipment from this program over the past few years. "The funding from Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) is extremely important and vital to our emergency preparedness program at DHR," states Baker.

Trauma Service Area V represents a classic example of specialized challenges in delivering care to the trauma patient in a rural setting, since there is no level I or II trauma center within the service area. Many transfers for specialized care are transported outside the region. However, since the development of the regional trauma system the communication between provider and hospital has increased tremendously and the quality of care provider to the victims of trauma has improved.

The region is excited about its continued growth and development. Members of the Rio Grande Valley Trauma Regional Advisory Council remain committed to the continued improvement and development of trauma care in the region.