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Published: Tuesday, 12/7/2004

ProMedica data is not submitted to program

BY LUKE SHOCKMAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

An effort to track serious injuries in northwest Ohio has been weakened by the decision of the region's largest health provider no longer to submit data to the program, health officials say.

Trauma cases for the ProMedica Health System - including Toledo Hospital, the largest local hospital in terms of patients served - were not included in data released yesterday by the Northwest Ohio Regional Trauma Registry. The lack of ProMedica's cases makes it difficult to analyze the remaining data and come to specific conclusions, said Jane Riebe, director of registries in the Dayton, Akron, and Toledo regions.

"It's taken a big chunk of data out of the regional registry," she said. "It makes what we're trying to do quite a bit more difficult."

The registry aims to quantify types of trauma occurring in 16 regional counties. The hope is that preventive health efforts may be crafted from the information; also, hospitals can use the data to improve patient care in emergency departments.

If patterns are discovered, like a rash of accidents from the same stretch of highway, the local registry could be used to buttress requests for money to fund highway safety improvements.

Now, the effectiveness of that work is in jeopardy, some say.

"It's more difficult to paint a picture of our regional needs without the ProMedica data," said Dr. Barry Knotts, trauma director at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. "ProMedica is a very strong player in our trauma system, and we want to reflect that."

ProMedica officials say they provide trauma information, but directly to a state registry. Doing so still allows the study of trauma care, and "we feel we're definitely contributing as good corporate citizens," said Barbara Steele, president of Toledo Hospital and ProMedica's central region.

Every hospital by law must contribute to the state registry. Though a statewide summary is available from that, only limited localized information can be developed, said Dr. Knotts, chairman of the registry established six years ago by area hospitals.

ProMedica hospitals provided trauma information to the local effort every year until last year, when Toledo Hospital and Flower Hospital stopped providing it. This year, none of the ProMedica hospitals has provided data, despite requests by registry officials for them to do so, according to registry officials.

In Ohio, ProMedica owns Toledo Hospital, Toledo Children's Hospital, Flower Hospital in Sylvania, Bay Park Community Hospital in Oregon, Fostoria Community Hospital, and Defiance Regional Medical Center. It is part owner of Lima Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Mary-Anne Purtill, medical director for Medical College of Ohio's trauma center, is concerned that the missing information will make it hard to draw any conclusions about pediatric care. She said ProMedica had about half the pediatric care cases, with Toledo Children's Hospital providing a large amount of the in-patient pediatric care in northwest Ohio.

"The registry data is still important, but [ProMedica's absence] reduces our ability to draw clear conclusions about how patients are being injured and how to improve care for patients," she said.

A summary of last year's information shows that falls are the most common cause of serious injuries.

Patients who meet certain criteria and are admitted to a hospital for at least 48 hours are included in the registry. Other findings include: Serious trauma in northwest Ohio is not peaking in the expected younger ages but in those older than 65; 55 percent of those with serious injuries are male; 92 percent of all injuries are "blunt" trauma (such as injuries from a motor vehicle accident), and 5 percent are "penetrating" injuries (such as a stabbing). Most people, 46 percent, are injured at home.

The local registry is coordinated by the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, a trade group representing many area hospitals. ProMedica withdrew from the association in January, but association officials say membership is not required to take part in the trauma program.

Contact Luke Shockman at:

lshockman@theblade.com

or 419-724-6084.



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