“…because of the organization’s scope and scale, those lessons don’t just stay [internal],” Jake says. “We take those lessons and build them into our enterprisewide emergency and disaster response plans.”
That scale is immense, says Michele K. Ziglar, MSN, R.N., vice president of Trauma Services and Clinical Operations Support. She has direct oversight of the clinical, administrative and operational elements of 106 trauma centers (more than 5% of trauma centers nationwide), which together treat roughly 105,000 patients annually (nearly 4% of trauma patients nationwide).
Trauma centers range from Levels 1 to 4, depending on the population and number of specialists required to be in-house or on call. Level 1 facilities, for example, have specialists in house, while a Level 4 is designed to stabilize patients prior to transport elsewhere for further treatment. Each facility plays a key role in providing and improving patient care.
“Right now, we have a central registry — the HCA Healthcare Trauma Data Center,” says Michele. “We have close to 600,000 patients in it.”
That information is shared with state and national regulatory agencies and the American College of Surgeons, collaborations that help drive valuable research and raise the bar of quality care. Mike explains that HCA Healthcare is committed to equitable patient care, which means emergency response plans must be tailored to suit the size and location of each community we serve.
That’s why the emergency response plan for Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas — where 46 people were shot at a Walmart store in August 2019 (see page 15) — may differ from the plan for Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nev. (where, in October 2017, a lone gunman shot 411 people during an outdoor concert, resulting in a total of 867 injuries).
“From an enterprise level, our planning needs to be scalable across all communities,” says Mike. “We plan for the population within a community for our everyday ‘normal’ trauma cases, such as motor vehicle crashes, even the occasional shooting. In Las Vegas, where you have a much larger population, we have to assume the risk is different. My job is to look at the risk of where our facilities are and anticipate our everyday volumes.“
That responsibility doesn’t change, even in the face of overlapping emergencies. Hurricane Ida, which devastated a number of Louisiana communities this past summer, is a perfect example. “As one of the worst storms to hit New Orleans was ravaging that community — 16 years to the day since Hurricane Katrina hit those same areas — our hospitals were still actively responding to the surge of the COVID-19 delta variant,” says Jake. “By investing in emergency operations as a whole, HCA Healthcare has an organizational resilience that few others have.
“We make sure that, no matter the emergency, we are able to provide the exact same level of care to the patient at the bedside,” he says. “Caring for and improving life is our mission, and our team is blessed to help our teams across the company do just that, no matter what.”