SONOMA COUNTY: Director Will Announce Site for New Trauma Center
After a year long delay, Sonoma County Medical Services Director Mark Kostielney said he will announce the site for the county's new regional trauma center this Wednesday, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports. Both candidates to host the center, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Sutter Medical Center, are happy to see the question finally answered. "We have been anticipating this decision for several years," Penny Vanderwolk of Sutter Medical said. Linda Trowbridge of Memorial added, "It has been a long process and we look forward to the processing to closure." The decision "carries enormous importance for the designated hospital because it confers a status that attracts doctors, specialists and staff." Robert Shirrell, a regional health care consultant, noted, "It will make that hospital the place to go in Northern California. Once made, the choice of a trauma center is set for a long time to come." He added, "Like most big events making news, you have to respect the hard decisions and assume they've been properly made after an investigation of the facts. I think Kostielney has probably done that and both hospitals will have to respect his decision."
Two Choices, Two Recommendations
Kostielney had hoped to announce his decision last November, but was forced to delay after a scheduled second review of both hospitals was pushed back to January. An initial county environmental impact review found Sutter Medical the "better location for helicopter and ambulance traffic." But a review of Memorial found the site offered "better medical facilities, programs and services." Kostielney plans to release the results of the second medical review with his decision. He warned that the announcement is a "'draft decision' ... amenable to public input" before a final choice is made. A public hearing is already set for March 23. Stressing the importance of a trauma center, Kostielney said, "We believe the designation of a trauma center will raise the standard of care for severely injured people" that will result in "a reduction in death and ... better outcomes for people who are treated there" (Rose, 3/6).