"For instance, for a Level II trauma center for the College of Surgeons standards you have to have a fulltime on-call ophthalmologist, those types of things. In our state we found that wasn't necessary. Plus, we don't have ophthalmologists on staff in most hospitals. They're all outpatient, so we altered it a little bit."
In some states, Florida and Texas in particular, hospitals seek trauma center status to cash in on lucrative trauma activation fees associated with that status, sometimes to the detriment of patients.
Mabry says that isn't a problem in Arkansas.
"We don't have an oversupply of hospital in Arkansas," he says. "We have too many patients and not enough hospitals to begin with, so we don't have a problem with hospitals trying to compete with one another for trauma center status."
If other states are contemplating a statewide trauma network, Mabry says a critical component for success must be a dedicated funding source.
"We are very fortunate that our governors and legislatures have allowed us to have the funding. That $20 million is a lot of money around here, and that has driven a lot of the innovations in the trauma system," Mabry says.
"For instance, the trauma wristband is very helpful. Every time the ambulance picks up a patient, at the first point of contact they have a pre-numbered wristband applied to the patient and that number follows them all the way through the trauma system. If there are problems along the way, we can identify them."
John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.