Governor Recognizes Celebration of Trauma Awareness Month

Governor Recognizes Celebration of Trauma Awareness Month

By Ann Ward

 

 

 

AUSTIN – May is Trauma Awareness Month, and Gov. Rick Perry officially recognized the Texas EMS, Trauma & Acute Care Foundation for its “efforts to raise awareness of trauma in Texas, support victims of trauma and the facilities that treat them, and increase education and prevention services.” Perry’s official “greetings” were presented at TETAF’s May 14 General Meeting attended by representatives of EMS, designated trauma center hospitals and trauma Regional Advisory Councils. “The recent tragic events in Boston and West remind us of how important it is to be prepared when a crisis occurs,” said Dinah Welsh, TETAF chief executive officer. “Texas has a first-class statewide trauma system but it is expensive to maintain. With the state’s rapidly growing population and the increased demand being put on EMS providers and trauma centers, TETAF is asking the Texas Legislature to increase the appropriation to offset uncompensated trauma care from $59 million per year to at least $75 million per year,”{{more}} Welsh said. The appropriation was reduced in 2011 as part of the state’s budget crisis, and “restoration to the 2010 funding level is needed to help reimburse hospitals and EMS providers for unpaid trauma care they already have provided.” During TETAF’s May 14 meeting, the Injury Prevention Division, chaired by Robin Garza, RN, trauma services director at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, announced that TETAF’s 2013-14 campaign will focus on distracted driving. “Distracted driving, including texting while driving, has become a major problem, causing many motor vehicle accidents,” Garza said.  “Although national EMS/trauma groups have been addressing this issue, there has been no concerted effort among Texas EMS and trauma professionals to educate the public and change behavior. While many businesses and media outlets are focusing attention on the issue in Texas, we believe that EMS and trauma professionals can have a significant impact as educators because of their first-hand experiences. Through TETAF, the EMS and trauma community is coming together to try to influence behavior changes in local communities across the state and save lives.” The public campaign will debut in August, just before school starts. It will target all age groups and focus on a variety of behaviors that distract drivers, from texting and talking on cell phone to eating or reading. “EMS and trauma professionals see the consequences of distracted driving every day,” Welsh added. TETAF will implement a statewide earned media campaign, provide ideas and materials, and work with RACs and their EMS/trauma professionals to coordinate local and regional activities. “On behalf of the entire EMS and trauma community, I want to urge all Texans to drive carefully, especially over the Memorial Day weekend later this month. Everyone needs to think safety, and avoid distracted driving and drinking and driving. All of us need to take precautions as we enjoy outdoor activities with our families and friends,” Welsh said. About TETAF The nonprofit Texas EMS, Trauma & Acute Care Foundation was formed in 2006 by emergency medical services, trauma and acute-care professionals who wanted to enhance the state’s EMS/trauma/acute-care system statewide. TETAF creates a forum to bring all stakeholders together to discuss issues, ranging from legislative policy and regulatory requirements to better emergency care for specific populations, such as geriatric or pediatric patients. TETAF is a source of timely, relevant information for the trauma/EMS/ambulance communities, and is an advocate, educating lawmakers and regulators at both the state and federal levels about trauma/EMS/ambulance issues, as appropriate. TETAF also provides cutting-edge continuing education on emergency and disaster topics. For more information, visit www.tetaf.org.