Saturday, April 25, 2009

Scott Takes Lead in Savings Georgians Lives

Georgia’s trauma care system is below the national average of care; Georgians are an appalling 20 times more likely to die from physical trauma then the rest of the country. If Georgia could increase the state’s trauma care services to that of the national average, an estimated 600 lives could be saved each year.

Candidate for Governor Austin Scott has sponsored legislation (House Bill 148) that would provide approximately $70 million annually to Georgia’s underserved trauma care network. The money would come from an annual $10 car tag fee.

“We cannot afford to linger around and play politics on a bill that immediately begins saving Georgians lives,” says Scott. “As a father and husband I’m not willing to stand by and see my family and families across Georgia being subjected to unnecessary risk.”

Typically, trauma cases occur due to car accidents, but trauma care is necessary for many types of sudden physical injury. Doctors agree that deaths drastically decrease if a patient is taken to a trauma center within an hour of the accident. “At approximately 3 cents per day, per vehicle, I believe it is a worthy investment for Georgians. This bill is about saving lives,” says Scott.

“The sooner a trauma patient can receive specialized care, the greater their chance of survival and recovery,” says Scott. “Throughout North and South Georgia, there are many areas far removed from the expert care of a trauma center,” says Scott. “More than a million Georgians live 50 miles or more from a trauma center, placing them well outside the ‘golden hour.’”

Currently, there is a network of fifteen trauma hospitals serving Georgia only four of which are Level Once centers. Advocates urge that Georgia’s trauma system needs $80 million a year to support these hospitals and expand services to underserved areas, yet this year’s budget has dropped to $23 million.

“This not just problem in rural areas,” Scott says. “This is a state wide issue.” Scott cites the problems facing Grady Memorial Hospital, metro Atlanta’s only Level One trauma hospital for serious injuries. “Grady loses $40 million a year on trauma care, yet they only received $13 million last year in trauma funds.” It’s nearly impossible to persuade additional hospitals to join a program that they cannot financially sustain. “Trauma care is costly; a low volume of patients at an extremely high cost,” he says.

As the son of an orthopedic surgeon, Austin understands the relationships between the patient, the physicians, the pharmacists, and other professionals in the health care system. In 2006, Representative Scott was selected to serve on the State Trauma Commission, which he helped create to improve access to trauma care throughout the state. He is a two-time recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award (2003, 2004), and the Georgia Association of Emergency Medical Services Star of Life Legislative Award (2007, 2008).
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