Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s trauma center has been re-verified as a Level II trauma center by the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. This achievement recognizes the trauma center’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients.

The hospital’s distinction as an ACS Verified Level II trauma center assures that patients receive the highest levels of clinical quality in their treatment and care.

The trauma center provides complete adult and pediatric trauma care, and it is the only comprehensive trauma center between Los Angeles and San Jose. As such, it provides crucial services that extend throughout Santa Barbara County and into areas of Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Kern counties.

Last year, the center treated 1,600 trauma patients.

Dr. Kenneth Waxman is the center’s trauma medical director.

Founded in 1888, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is an acute-care teaching hospital committed to patient safety and providing the highest quality health care to the greater Santa Barbara area. With annual admissions of more than 19,000 patients, 39,000 emergency room visits, and 2,800 births, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital — and its associated Cottage Children’s Hospital and Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital — is renowned for offering trauma, pediatric, cardiac, neurosurgical and oncology programs.

The American College of Surgeons requires that verified trauma centers meet essential criteria to ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance, as outlined by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma in its current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual.

There are four separate categories of verification in the COT’s program: Level I, II, III and IV, with Level I being the highest. Each category has specific criteria that must be met by a facility seeking that level of verification. Each hospital has an on-site review by a team of experienced trauma surgeons, who use the current Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual as a guideline in conducting the survey.

The ACS Committee on Trauma’s verification program does not designate trauma centers. Rather, the program provides a confirmation that a trauma center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured patients. The actual establishment and the designation of trauma centers is the function of local, regional or state health-care systems agencies, such as the local emergency medical services authority.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The college has 59,000 members and it is the world’s largest association of surgeons. Longstanding achievements have placed the college in the forefront of American surgery and have made it an important advocate for all surgical patients.

— Maria Zate is Cottage Health System’s marketing and public affairs manager.