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Friday, February 11, 2011 - 7:50am

New Push For Trauma Care Funding

There’s a new effort underway at the state Capitol to push for a permanent trauma care network funding source. It’s still connected to vehicle registration fees—but with a twist.

The measure revived this week by Douglas Republican Greg Goggans in the state Senate would peel-off $10 from the sale of each license tag and direct it into a dedicated trauma fund. Last year’s measure passed by lawmakers was eventually voted-down by voters in November. That would have added a $10 charge on top of the current registration fee.

It was voted down by a narrow margin -- 53 percent to 47 percent, about 130,000 votes.

In the past three years, state funding for trauma care has been cut from $58 million to $23 million -- to now $10 million.

Ben Hinson with the state’s Trauma Care Commission says several times the current amount is needed to activate a true trauma network in Georgia:

“It’s not all money...we’re working in a lot of different ways to make things better. But without money, once we get the system lined-up and ready to go, if we don’t have money to fund it, it doesn’t do us a lot of good.”

There are only four Level-1 trauma hospitals in Georgia -- in Atlanta, Augusta, Macon and Savannah. But Hinson says more are needed to cover outlying rural areas of the state.

Hinson says despite having to work with a small budget, trauma care is improving. He cites the rollout in two regions of a vehicle locator system. That he says allows hospital workers to track and dispatch emergency vehicles to the closest trauma center to save critical time.

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