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Alameda County adds a new Level II Trauma Center

Alameda County adds a new Level II Trauma Center

Washington Hospital Healthcare System to begin receiving trauma patients July 1

Alameda County, CA— Alameda County Health’s Emergency Medical Services Agency (AC Health EMS) today announced that Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS) in Fremont has been officially designated as a Provisional Level II Trauma Center, effective July 1, 2024. This designation is responsive to the healthcare needs in the community and further expands high-quality trauma care in southern Alameda County.

As a Provisional Level II Trauma Center, WHHS will provide 24/7, specialized, lifesaving care for critically injured patients. The California Health and Safety Code gives local EMS agencies the authority to designate trauma facilities as part of their trauma care system. AC Health EMS conducted a systemwide assessment in 2021, which reviewed population changes over time alongside the need and availability of trauma care across Alameda County. Based on findings from the trauma assessment, AC Health EMS chose Washington Hospital for the new Provisional Level II site in 2022.

“Trauma care is complex and an integral part of emergency response. Each trauma center contributes to the quality of the overall countywide trauma system, and we are proud to include WHHS in our system,” said AC Health, EMS Director Lauri McFadden. “This designation recognizes the tremendous amount of time, effort, and resources the WHHS team has dedicated into making responsive trauma care a reality for our community.”

WHHS is now Alameda County’s fourth trauma center, joining Highland Hospital, Eden Medical Center, and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. This enhancement of the countywide trauma system is the first since AC Health last designated the current trauma centers in 1987 and accounts for future growth projected in the cities and towns served by WHHS.

“Access to trauma and lifesaving care close to home is extremely important to the communities that surround our hospital,” said WHHS CEO Kimberly Hartz. “This is a wonderful day for our residents who previously had to be transported out of the area for trauma care. We are honored to bring this lifesaving, around-the-clock care to our community.”

WHHS began preparing to become a trauma center two decades ago when it first announced its long-term Facility Master Plan. In 2018, the hospital opened the Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion, specifically designed around trauma center requirements. Since the 2022 AC Health EMS decision to add WHHS to the countywide trauma system, WHHS has worked diligently to meet the requirements ahead of the originally proposed five-year horizon. The new trauma center’s provisional status will be in place over the next few years while AC Health EMS monitors its patient outcomes and until it passes a verification process under the American College of Surgeons.

“The team at Washington Hospital Healthcare System has shown great commitment, discipline, and patience to reach this important accomplishment,” said AC Health Director Colleen Chawla. “Because of their careful analysis and preparation, the people of South County will have increased access to critical resources, and our countywide trauma system will be enhanced.”

Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley (District 4) described the trauma center’s opening as a transformative moment for this community. “We are responding to the needs of the community by enhancing this critical service to our residents and families,” he said. “The hard work and preparation of the WHHS team has paid off and we are honored to be a part of this process.”

Washington Township Health Care District Board President Jacob Eapen, MD, acknowledged the district residents who support WHHS. “Our community helped make this day a reality by supporting a bond measure for the building and the trauma bays within our emergency department. Trauma services are now a reality – made possible by the community, for the community.”