The department designates health care facilities to provide adult and pediatric acute care trauma services ("trauma services") and adult and pediatric trauma rehabilitation services ("trauma rehabilitation services") as part of the statewide emergency medical services and trauma care (EMS/TC) system. This section describes the designation process.
(1) The department must:
(a) Provide written notification to all licensed hospitals and to other health care facilities that a new designation period is beginning. The written notification and the EMS/TC regional plans are posted on the department's web site;
(b) Provide a trauma designation application schedule outlining the steps and timeline requirements for a facility to apply for trauma service designation. The schedule must provide each facility at least ninety days to complete an application for trauma designation. The application schedule is posted on the department's web site;
(c) Provide an application for each level, type and combination of designation. Designation applications are released region by region, according to the established schedule;
(d) Conduct a site review for any hospital applying for level I, II, or III adult and/or pediatric trauma service designation to determine compliance with required standards;
(e) Initiate a three-year contract with successful applicants to authorize participation in the trauma system.
(2) To apply for trauma service designation the health care facility must do the following according to the application schedule:
(a) Request an application;
(b) Submit a letter of intent to apply for trauma service designation indicating what level they are applying for;
(c) Submit a completed application(s);
(d) For health care facilities applying for level I, II, III adult and/or pediatric trauma service designation, the facility must complete a site review arranged and conducted by the department according to the following process:
(i) The department will contract with trauma surgeons and trauma nurses to conduct the site review. The review team members must:
(A) Work outside the state, for level I and II site reviews;
(B) Work outside the applicant's EMS&TC region, for level III site reviews;
(C) Maintain the confidentiality of all documents examined, in accordance with RCW 70.41.200
. This includes, but is not limited to, all trauma patient data, staff discussions, patient, provider, and facility care outcomes, and any reports resulting from the site review;
(D) Present their preliminary findings to the health care facility at the end of the site review visit;
(ii) The department will provide the applicant the names of review team members prior to the site review. Any objections must be sent to the department within ten days of receiving the department's notification of review team members;
(iii) A site review fee, as established in WAC 246-976-990
, is charged and must be paid by the health care facility prior to the site review. A standard fee schedule is posted on the department's web site. For facilities applying for more than one type of designation or for joint designation, fee rates can be obtained by contacting the department;
(iv) The applicant must provide the department and the site review team full access to the facility, facility staff, and all records and documents concerning trauma care including trauma patient data, education, training and credentialing documentation, standards of care, policies, procedures, protocols, call schedules, medical records, quality improvement materials, receiving facility patient feedback, and other relevant documents;
(e) For health care facilities applying for level IV or V trauma service designation, level I, II, or III trauma rehabilitation service designation or level I pediatric trauma rehabilitation service designation, the department may, at its discretion, conduct a site review as part of the application process to determine compliance with required standards. If a site review is conducted, the process will be the same as identified in (d) of this subsection, except a site review fee will not be charged.
(3) The department will designate the health care facilities it considers most qualified to provide trauma care services including when there is competition for trauma service designation within a region. There is competition for designation within a region when the number of applications for a level and type of designation is more than the maximum number of trauma services identified in the approved EMS/TC regional plan. The department will evaluate at least the following in making its decisions:
(a) The quality of the health care facility's performance, based on:
(i) The submitted application, attachments and any other information the department requests from the facility to verify compliance, or the ability to comply with trauma standards;
(ii) Recommendations from the site review team;
(iii) Trauma patient outcomes during the previous designation period, if applicable;
(iv) Compliance with the contract during the previous designation period, if applicable;
(b) The health care facility's conformity with the EMS/TC regional and state plans, based on:
(i) The impact of the facility's designation on the effectiveness of the trauma system;
(ii) Patient volumes for the area;
(iii) The number, level, and distribution of trauma services identified in the state and approved regional plans;
(iv) The facility's ability to comply with state and regional EMS/TC plan goals.
(4) After trauma service designation decisions are made in a region, the department will:
(a) Notify each applicant in writing of the department's designation decision;
(b) Send each applicant a written report summarizing the department's findings, recommendations and additional requirements to maintain designation. If a site review was conducted as part of the application process, the review team findings and recommendations are also included in the written report. Reports are sent:
(i) Within sixty days of announcing designation decisions for level IV and V trauma services and trauma rehabilitation services;
(ii) Within one hundred twenty days of the site review for level I, II and III adult and pediatric trauma services and any other facility that received a site review as part of the application process;
(c) Notify the EMS/TC regional council of designation decisions within the region and all subsequent changes in designation status;
(d) Initiate a trauma designation contract with successful applicants. The contract will include:
(i) Authority from the department to participate in the state trauma system, receive trauma patients from EMS agencies, and provide trauma care services for a three-year period;
(ii) The contractual and financial requirements and responsibilities of the department and the trauma service;
(iii) A provision to allow the department to monitor compliance with trauma service standards;
(iv) A provision to allow the department to have full access to trauma patient data; the facility, equipment, staff and their credentials, education, and training documentation, and all trauma care documents such as: Standards of care, policies, procedures, protocols, call schedules, medical records, quality improvement documents, receiving facility patient feedback, and other relevant documents;
(v) The requirement to maintain confidentiality of information relating to individual patient's, provider's and facility's care outcomes under RCW 70.41.200
(e) Notify the designated trauma service and other interested parties in the region of the next trauma designation application process at least one hundred fifty days before the contract expires.
(5) Designated trauma services may ask the department to conduct a site review for technical assistance at any time during the designation period. The department has the right to require reimbursement for the costs of conducting the site review.
(6) The department will not approve an application for trauma service designation if the applicant:
(a) Is not the most qualified, when there is competition for designation; or
(b) Does not meet the trauma care standards for the level applied for; or
(c) Does not meet the requirements of the approved EMS/TC regional plan; or
(d) Has made a false statement about a material fact in its designation application; or
(e) Refuses to permit the department to examine any part of the facility that relates to the delivery of trauma care services, including, but not limited to, records, documentation, or files.
(7) If the department denies an application, the department will send the facility a written notice to explain the reasons for denial and to explain the facility's right to appeal the department's decision in accordance with chapters 34.05
RCW and 246-10
(8) To ensure adequate trauma care in the state, the department may:
(a) Provisionally designate health care facilities that are not able to meet all the requirements of this chapter. The provisional designation will not be for more than two years. A department-approved plan of correction must be prepared specifying steps necessary to bring the facility into compliance and an expected date of compliance. The department may conduct a site review to verify compliance with required standards. If a site review is conducted the department has the right to require reimbursement for the cost of conducting the site review;
(b) Consider additional applications at any time, regardless of the established schedule, if necessary to attain the numbers and levels of trauma services identified in the approved EMS/TC regional and state plan;
(c) Consider applications from hospitals located and licensed in adjacent states. The department will evaluate an out-of-state application in the same manner as all other applications. However, if the out-of-state applicant is designated as a trauma service in an adjacent state with an established trauma system whose standards meet or exceed Washington's standards and there is no competition for designation at that level, then the department may use the administrative findings, conclusions, and decisions of the adjacent state's designation evaluation to make the decision to designate. Additional information may be requested by the department to make a final decision.
(9) The department may suspend or revoke a trauma designation if the facility or any owner, officer, director, or managing employee:
(a) Is substantially out of compliance with trauma care standards WAC 246-976-700
or chapter 70.168
RCW and has refused or is unwilling to comply after a reasonable period of time;
(b) Makes a false statement of a material fact in the designation application, or in any document required or requested by the department, or in a matter under investigation;
(c) Prevents, interferes with, or attempts to impede in any way, the work of a department representative in the lawful enforcement of chapter 246-976
(d) Uses false, fraudulent, or misleading advertising, or makes any public claims regarding the facility's ability to care for nontrauma patients based on its trauma designation status;
(e) Misrepresents or is fraudulent in any aspect of conducting business.
(10) The Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 34.05
RCW, and chapter 246-10
WAC govern the suspension and revocation process. The department will use the following process to suspend or revoke a facility's trauma designation:
(a) The department will send the facility a written notice to explain the reasons it intends to suspend or revoke the designation and to explain the facility's right to a hearing to contest the department's intended action under WAC 246-10-201
(b) The notice will be sent at least twenty-eight days before the department takes action, unless it is a summary suspension, as provided for in the Administrative Procedure Act and WAC 246-10-301
(c) If a facility requests a hearing within twenty-eight days of the date the notice was mailed, a hearing before a health law judge will be scheduled. If the department does not receive the facility's request for a hearing within twenty-eight days of the date the notice was mailed, the facility will be considered in default under WAC 246-10-204
(d) For nonsummary suspensions, in addition to its request for a hearing, the facility may submit a plan within twenty-eight days of receiving the notice of the department's intent to suspend, describing how it will correct deficiencies:
(i) The department will approve or disapprove the plan within thirty days of receipt;
(ii) If the department approves the plan, the facility must begin to implement it within thirty days;
(iii) The facility must notify the department when the problems are corrected;
(iv) If, prior to sixty days before the scheduled hearing, the facility is able to successfully demonstrate to the department that it is meeting the requirements of chapters 246-976
WAC and 70.168
RCW, which may require a site review at the facility's expense, the department will withdraw its notice of intent to suspend designation;
(e) The department will notify the regional EMS&TC council of the actions it has taken.
(11) A facility may seek judicial review of the department's final decision under the Administrative Procedure Act, RCW 34.05.510
(12) A newly designated or upgraded trauma service must meet education requirements for all applicable personnel according to the following schedule:
(a) At the time of the new designation, twenty-five percent of all personnel must meet the education and training requirements in WAC 246-976-700
(b) At the end of the first year of designation, fifty percent of all personnel must meet the education and training requirements in WAC 246-976-700
(c) At the end of the second year of designation, seventy-five percent of all personnel must meet the education and training requirements defined in WAC 246-976-700
(d) At the end of the third year of designation, and all subsequent designation periods, ninety percent of all personnel must meet the education and training requirements defined in WAC 246-976-700
(13) All currently designated trauma services must have a written education plan with a process for tracking and assuring that new physicians and staff meet all trauma education requirements within the first eighteen months of employment.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.168.050, 70.168.060, and 70.168.070. 09-23-085, § 246-976-580, filed 11/16/09, effective 12/17/09.]