Chronicle of Mt. Juliet

Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital receives increased trauma designation

Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital has received approval as a state-verified Level III Trauma Center, becoming the 18th trauma center in Tennessee. 

“Since acquiring Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital, it has been a goal to provide advanced trauma services. We believe this is an important addition for the patients we serve, and for the region,” said C. Wright Pinson, Vanderbilt University Medical Center CEO and Chief Health System Officer.

To become a trauma center in Tennessee, health facilities are required to operate under provisional status for one year.

Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital received provisional status in June 2022 and underwent assessments of the facility’s ability to operate at higher standards expected of a trauma center. 

Level III trauma centers must have the ability to provide immediate care by emergency physicians and staff 24 hours a day, as well as trauma-trained surgeons and anesthesiologists on demand.

During the provisional visits, applicants must demonstrate the required mechanisms to meet the criteria for the desired accreditation level are in place, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

The trauma center designation is held for three years.

“Many of the improvements made to achieve this designation provide benefits far beyond the emergency department,” said Andrew Hopper, trauma medical director at VWCH. “Trauma centers also have a community outreach component, which is why you’ll be seeing more and more of our clinicians and staff in the community providing education and community service.”

The hospital has taken operational and organizational steps to become a Level III trauma center since Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital acquired the facility in 2019.

In May 2020, Vanderbilt University Medical Center invested nearly $1 million to open an ambulance base at Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital, which included placing a Vanderbilt LifeFlight ambulance at the hospital.

In July 2020, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital Emergency Department transitioned to become part of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine. The department was previously staffed through physicians from a contracted agency.

The entirety of VWCH now has access to capabilities including interventional radiology, which is used as a treatment for cancer and other conditions without major surgery, urology coverage, round-the-clock anesthesia coverage and expanded availability of life-saving blood products.