PMH designated as Level IV Trauma Center

Left photo: Dr. Justin Jeffries. Right photo: Dr. Jeffrey Pilney

Jaynell Graham
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health and Office of Emergency Medical Services recently notified Pocahontas Memorial Hospital that it had successfully complied with all medical criteria and resource requirements to qualify as a Level IV Trauma Center.

The agencies said “the designation is reflective of the extraordinary dedication and commitment of PMH and its entire staff to the improvement in the care of trauma patients in West Virginia.”

According to the American Trauma Society, a Level IV Trauma Center has demonstrated an ability to provide advanced trauma life support (ATLS) prior to transfer of patients to a higher level trauma center.  It provides evaluation, stabilization, and diagnostic capabilities for injured patients.

Elements of Level IV Trauma Centers include:

• Basic emergency department facilities to implement ATLS protocols and 24-hour laboratory coverage.  

• Available trauma nurse(s) and physicians available upon patient arrival.

• May provide surgery and critical-care services if available.  

• Has developed transfer agreements for patients requiring more comprehensive care at a Level I or Level II Trauma Center. 

• Incorporates a comprehensive quality assessment program.

• Involved with prevention efforts and must have an active outreach program for its referring communities.  

“Our Emergency Department nurses have the same training and are trauma certified at the same standard as those in larger facilities,” PMH Chief Nursing Officer Kyna Moore said. “Our physicians also meet the national standard of care.”

While this is a major accomplishment for the facility, Moore said it is more important for the community.

“It is an expense to train and educate our staff, Moore said, “but it doesn’t increase costs to patients nor increase wages. We took it on to improve our standards and quality of care for the community.

“We have a strong staff. All of our ED nurses are Emergency Nurse Trauma certified. We have one hundred-seventy-five years of nursing experience in that department.”

In addition, all of the ED doctors at PMH have Advanced Trauma/Life Support training.

Dr. Justin Jeffries is the Trauma Medical Director and Chief of Staff at PMH.

The hospital works closely with the local EMS squads as well as Emergency Management and Snowshoe. 

“The group works together to do planning for the county,” Moore said. “This designation says we are working for the community and the county to improve care at each level.”

PMH reaches out to the community in many ways, most recently by donating First Aid Kits to various ball teams and the Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department.

The facility continues to add to the services it provides, many of which allow patients to receive treatments close to home, that, heretofore, required travel out of the area.

One such service is PMH’s Wound Clinic, which offers treatment for chronic wounds. A chronic wound is a wound that has not healed in three weeks, Moore said.

“Angela Webb, RN, moved to the area two years ago,” Moore said. “She has extensive experience at VA hospitals and is certified as a National Wound Care Specialist. It was great to bring her services to the county.” 

Dr. Jeffrey Pilney is the ED Director and head of the Wound Clinic at PMH.

Moore said that there are some services that are not feasible to be offered at PMH, such as child birth, but there are other things that the hospital can do.

Many changes have come about in the past few years each has improved access and the quality of care for residents and visitors to the county.

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