Background

Injury is a major public health problem, as evidenced by the incidence, geographic dispersion and resultant impact to society in terms of productive-years-of-life-lost of its victims. Trauma is the leading cause of death of individuals in Florida ages 1-44. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, Florida ranks the third highest in the nation [$3.16 billion], with the highest medical and work loss costs, due to deaths caused by motorized vehicle crashes.

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) first began working towards the establishment of a statewide trauma system to meet the needs of trauma victims back in the early 1980’s. The first comprehensive framework for a trauma system of care for the injured was conceived by the Florida Legislature with the passage of the Roy E. Campbell Trauma Act of 1990. Florida's trauma system has been evolving incrementally ever since through passage of additional legislation.

The technology and nature of treatment practices required to treat the critically injured patient involves careful collaboration and precise timing to bring together many specialties and health disciplines to care for the patient. The objective is to get the right patient to the right place in the right amount of time. This coordination of available resources for the effective delivery of emergency health care services in geographical regions, consistent with planning and management standards, where all players contribute according to their capabilities and capacities, constitutes an inclusive trauma system. Appropriate utilization of available resources within the community benefits not only the patient, it is also cost-effective.

The regulation of Florida's trauma system is governed by Part II of Chapter 395, Florida Statutes and administered by the DOH by rule in chapter 64J-2, Florida Administrative Code.

Currently there are three other trauma agencies in the state besides Hillsborough's Trauma Agency. Broward, North Central Florida, and Palm Beach County's are the others.