New Jersey bill seeks to address hospital trauma issues

When a person suffers injury in an accident or need immediate medical attention from the sudden onset of an illness, an effective and rapid response from emergency services is critical. Yet, in New Jersey, all too often, those in need of medical attention are brought to the wrong places and receive subpar care considering their condition.

A new measure before the New Jersey legislature would seek to address this issue by creating a formal trauma system within the state. In early January, the Senate version of the bill, S-3027, was approved in committee, and there appears to be growing support in both houses of the New Jersey legislature.

Estimated 33 percent of trauma patients brought to non-trauma hospitals

The chief goal of S-3027, known as A-4500 in the New Jersey Assembly, is to increase coordination for emergency services and hospital care within the state. Under current practices, one of the sponsors of the bill says that financial incentives in the health care industry can lead to harmful and problematic results. For instance, for-profit ambulance services may take a patient to a hospital that does not provide the optimal type of care given the type of injury or illness the patient is suffering from simply because the ambulance service stands to profit more from transporting patients to certain facilities.

Official statistics are difficult to come by, but this type of problem is estimated to be widespread in New Jersey. In a report ordered by the New Jersey Department of Health, the American College of Surgeons called the state's trauma response system fragmented, adding that many injured patients are not given the care that could be optimally provided. The sponsor of S-3027 in the Senate told NJ Spotlight that trauma center estimates indicate that approximately a third of all New Jersey major trauma patients are admitted to non-trauma hospitals.

If passed, the new bill would establish enforceable rules that require ambulances to transport patients with major trauma injuries, such as serious head injuries, to a hospital with a trauma center. The bill would also establish a trauma advisory committee to gather data and make recommendations for improvement considering the state's trauma system, and would create a new position for a state director for trauma care.

Get compensation from careless medical providers and other negligent parties

When you or someone you love suffers injury, you do not expect that injury to be compounded by a sloppy medical care response. Yet, sometimes that is just what happens, particularly under the current trauma response system in New Jersey.

If you have been injured, or if you have lost a loved one to injury, you may be able to recover financial compensation from those responsible for causing the injury. This includes compensation from caregivers for medical negligence whether behavior that fell below the applicable standard of care exacerbated an existing problem or created a new issue. Talk to a New Jersey personal injury attorney to learn more about your right to compensation and to begin building your case.

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