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Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 9:30am

Trauma Communications Center Arrives In Summer

The state’s trauma care commission has more money to work with in the coming budget year. And some of that will be used for an important upgrade to the statewide trauma network this summer.

Three years ago, Georgia’s trauma network had nearly $60 million in funding. But amid state budget cutbacks, that shrunk to only about $12 million in operating money this year. For the coming fiscal year starting July 1st, it’s up a bit--to at least $17 million.

The trauma commission met Thursday to vote on how to spread that cash throughout Georgia’s still under-funded network.

Commission member Linda Cole says a key new component will debut later this summer -- a Trauma Communications Center.

"It’s a center that would allow EMS and hospitals that are not trauma centers that have trauma patients, to route the patient to the right hospital (and) get them connected to the right hospital as quickly as possible, so we send the right patient to the right hospital at the right time.”

Commission member Linda Cole says the network still needs a dedicated funding mechanism. Despite last fall’s narrow defeat by voters of a proposed $10 car tag fee she says, it's a building block in the right direction.

“I think there was a lot of mistrust that those dollars would not get back to trauma. I heard that a lot that ‘if I knew for sure this was going to go to trauma I would have voted for it.’ So I think we’ve got to continue to build the voters’ trust that the dollars will get to us and we’ll be good stewards of their dollars.”

Cole is optimistic lawmakers will get a funding mechanism passed in next year’s Legislative session.

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