BEMTS works with Iowa’s 120 hospitals to protect and improve the health of all trauma patients injured in Iowa. The Iowa State Trauma Program utilizes trauma registry data, injury prevention and outreach, hospital verification, and performance improvement resources to assist Iowa’s hospitals with optimizing the care of injured patients to improve outcomes and reduce morbidity and mortality from traumatic injury. 

According to the 2020 CDC WISQARS data set, approximately 2,300 Iowans died from injuries and violence, 340 Iowans died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020,617 Iowans died from a fall and  552 Iowans died by suicide. Trauma remains a major problem affecting the health of Iowans across the state.

State of Iowa Plan for Trauma System Development 2022-2027

BEMTS staff along with many contributors dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families in Iowa collaboratively developed the 5-year State of Iowa Plan for Trauma System Development 2022-2027. This plan will:

  • Guide comprehensive system development
  • Address system operational requirements
  • Allow for local trauma system variations based on assessment results
  • Reflect inclusiveness of the operational components as they fall under assessment, policy development, and assurance
  • Demonstrate an all-encompassing methodology, ranging from injury prevention activities to prehospital trauma care, acute care facilities, and post-acute care rehabilitation
  • Reflect integration with the State Health Plan and with the State’s Emergency Response Plan
  • Allow for a dynamic process that will evolve with changing injury epidemiology and resource availability – both human and financial

The ultimate evaluation outcome of trauma system implementation is a reduction in morbidity and mortality. Iowa will accomplish this goal by planning and implementing a care improvement process, enhancing system performance, using evidence-based research, developing and implementing targeted injury prevention programs, and revisions to trauma system plans based on system assessments and data-based needs.

Iowa Trauma System Consultation 

In 2015, The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, Trauma Systems Evaluation and Planning Committee, evaluated the Iowa Trauma System as part of a consultative effort to improve the quality of the trauma program in Iowa.  The report points out that, "Iowa has a long history of participation in organized trauma care as one of the first states to fully embrace an inclusive trauma system model that provide(s) a role for all acute care facilities, regardless of geographic location or hospital capabilities." The trauma program remains committed to the inclusive trauma system model.  The recommendations outlined in the consultative report for improving the trauma program in Iowa remain the focus of work of the Iowa Trauma Program and the Trauma System Advisory Council and while many recommendations have been achieved, there is still ample room for continued growth and improvement.  The full report can be read at the link directly below.  

Out of Hospital Trauma Triage Destination Decision Protocols

The trauma program has many resources that can be accessed by EMS and trauma programs that are working to optimize the care of injured patients. An Out of Hospital Trauma Triage Destination Decision Protocol has been developed to assist the EMS provider in the identification of time critical injuries, method of transport, and trauma care facility resources necessary for treatment of those injuries.  Protocols have been developed for both adults and pediatrics.

Verification Criteria

The State of Iowa Trauma Coordinator oversees the verification of all Trauma Level III and IV hospitals that are not verified by the American College of Surgeons.  The administrative rules that govern the categorization and verification of each trauma level are in Iowa Administrative Code (IAC 641-134.2 (147A) and (IAC 641-134.2(3) a) and b).  The Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient 2014 by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma is adopted by reference into rule.  These are the criteria by which Iowa trauma facilities are verified.  A quick link to The Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient 2014 can be found below.

The Trauma Program Manager Manual is a one-stop-shop for State of Iowa Trauma Program resources.  The manual describes the core job responsibilities of the trauma program manager, provides links to trauma subject matter expert websites, describes the verification process, and provides links to the administrative rules and statute that guide the trauma system. This manual is designed to provide a trauma program manager with the tools he or she may need to be successful in their job.  It is not designed to substitute for a hospital's internal orientation process, but it is designed to be a supplement to that process.

Trauma Administrative Rules

Administrative Rules govern the trauma system. These rules establish guidance for hospital trauma programs in Iowa and are the binding rules by which every trauma care facility must abide.  

Chapter 147a - Emergency Medical Care - Trauma Care

Chapter 641-134 - Trauma Care Facility Categorization and Verification

Chapter 641-135 - Trauma Triage and Transfer Protocols

Chapter 641-136 - Trauma Registry 

Chapter 641-137 – Trauma Education and Training

Chapter 641-138 – Trauma System Advisory Council

Trauma System Advisory Council (TSAC)

TSAC serves in a leadership role to develop and support the trauma system. Learn more