SANTA FE – Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil announced Wednesday that the New Mexico Department of Health has designated three hospitals as new trauma centers in the state: Roosevelt General Hospital in Portales, Gerald Champion Medical Center in Alamogordo and Carlsbad Medical Center in Carlsbad. With the addition of these hospitals, there are now six trauma centers in New Mexico, according to a news release.
“This represents significant progress in developing a comprehensive trauma system for New Mexico,” said Gov. Bill Richardson in the news release. “This is great news for the people of southern and eastern New Mexico, who will now have access to better emergency care. When someone suffers traumatic injury, every single minute counts.”
Adding three new trauma centers in the southern part of the state — where previously there were none — means patients are more likely to receive appropriate care for less severe injuries in their communities, and patients with more severe conditions will be transferred to other facilities only for a higher level of care, the release said.
Trauma centers are classified into four levels, according to the release. The hospital in Portales is a Level IV hospital, which means they can stabilize all types of trauma patients and transfer to a higher level facility. Level I centers provide the most comprehensive range of services. The state’s only Level I hospital is the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque. The Carlsbad and Alamogordo trauma centers are designated Level III. A broken arm, a lacerated spleen or a fractured rib are types of trauma that a Level III center can assess and treat. New Mexico has two other Level III hospitals, St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe and San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington.
“We congratulate hospitals that are working hard to provide better trauma care for patients in New Mexico,” Vigil said in the release. “We will continue to support hospitals as they address this critical need.”