The Trauma Center at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center has received reverification as a Level II Trauma Center by the Verification Review Committee (VRC), an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma (COT) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This achievement recognizes the trauma center's dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients. Each verification period lasts for three years.
FWBMC received initial designation as a Level II Trauma Center in May 2017. Prior to June 2015, many patients in Walton and Okaloosa counties were transported more than 40 miles to the nearest trauma center. The availability of a trauma center in Okaloosa County reduces transport times for many patients during the "golden hour" - a 60-minute window for bringing patients to a designated trauma center. Multiple studies, including a Sept. 2015 study in the _Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Surgery_, show that the sooner care is given within that hour, the better the outcome. Trauma is the leading cause of death among Floridians under the age of 44, and Florida's death rate for trauma remains higher than the national average.
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is affiliated with Florida's first and largest statewide network of trauma centers, developed as an affiliation between the University of South Florida (USF) and HCA Healthcare to improve access and outcomes of injured patients. These trauma centers provide:
- 24/7 in-house coverage by a trauma surgeon
- 24/7 access to specialty and non-specialty surgeons and physicians
- 24/7 on-call neurosurgeons
- 24/7 on-site anesthesia provider, surgical services team and trauma-trained nurses
Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, said: "Meeting our community's urgent need for specialized trauma care has been a tremendous privilege, and we are thankful for the continued opportunity to serve trauma patients and their families. I want to thank all of our dedicated employees and physicians, EMS, first responders and the community for all their support in receiving reverification of our Level II trauma center for another three years."