Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Aims for Trauma Center Designation

A trauma center is in the works for our area, but Tallahassee Memorial Hospital says it will be expensive. How about 1.4 million just to open the doors?

Tallahassee Memorial says it's going to have to dig into its own pockets to cover the 1.4 million in startup costs. The hospital had hoped the state would step in and help, but the governor vetoed a $500,000 request in May, so TMH turned to local government.

Tallahassee and Leon County have each allotted $300,000 in their preliminary budgets to help TMH cover the annual cost, also $1.4 million each year.

TMH says it will be carrying most of the load at 50 to 60 percent of the annual expense, but saw no other option when it comes to saving lives.

Warren Jones, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital spokesman, said, "Five of the six counties in our region have the highest mortality rates in the state. Tallahassee Memorial Hospital knew it needed to bring a trauma center to our region and do it quickly."

And quickly could mean a provisional trauma center designation in the next six to eight months. Two trauma surgeons have been hired. One arrives this month, the other in October.

The hospital is also working to get the equipment and policies in place it will need to get accreditation.

The Emergency Services medical director told us a significant number of people will be saved.

Javier Escobar, TMH Emergency Services Medical Director, said, "We do a pretty good job of it now, but adding a trauma surgeon just increases the level of care to a higher level and it will make an impact to lives in this community."