Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.
Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria has been verified as a Level II Trauma Center by a special review panel with the Amercian College of Surgeons. (Contributed photo)

Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria has been verified as a Level II Trauma Center, meaning it can care for the most critically injured patients.

“This does allow us to take care of more severely injured patients than we may have been able to in the past,” said Dr. Terrance McGovern, assistant medical director for the medical center’s Emergency Department. “We know with trauma, it’s time sensitive. We know there’s plenty of research showing that the sooner we get patients to definitive care at the local trauma center, the better they will do.”

The verification came after a review by a panel with the Committee on Trauma through the American College of Surgeons, hospital officials said this week.

“Marian is incredibly proud to have achieved verification as a Level II Trauma Center and for the ability to provide our community comprehensive trauma care and around-the-clock coverage of essential specialties, personnel and equipment,” said Sue Andersen, president and chief executive officer for Marian Regional Medical Center. “It is the goal of our hospital to provide the highest levels of health care for our residents, close to home, and this verification is yet another testament to the dedication and passion of our outstanding team.”

Trauma center types span several steps, with Level I being the highest and requiring a facility to have the variety of specialists to care for severely injured patients along with having research and education residency programs in place.

Level II also requires a facility to have the assorted specialists available, but it doesn’t include the educational or research program requirement.

“This achievement recognizes the trauma center’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients,” Marian Regional Medical Center officials said.

With more badly injured patients able to be treated locally, it means they and their families can remain close to home for what can be a lengthy rehabilitation period.

“We’re proud and excited to be able to offer that to the community,” McGovern said. 

Marian’s new ranking places it one step below Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, which received Level I Trauma Center verification and designation in 2017.

The Santa Barbara hospital received its Level II designation in 2009, officials said previously.

Since 2011, more than 23,000 trauma patients have been treated in Santa Barbara County’s Trauma System, according to a December 2021 report to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

The county’s system, the Level I Adult Trauma Center and the Level II Pediatric Trauma Center at Cottage Hospital and the then-Level III Adult Trauma Center at Marian treated 2,590 patients in 2020, according to county data. 

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, a Level III trauma center in San Luis Obispo, is the only trauma center in that county, a spokeswoman said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.