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Hospital Trauma Classification Process

Hospital designation and classification as a Trauma Care Facility in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has 117 of 130 potential hospitals participating in its trauma system, with 12% of them being American College of Surgeons verified Level I or II and the remaining 88% being a Level III or IV trauma care facility designated by the state as a part of their voluntary participation in the state trauma system. For information on which hospitals are designated as what, view the Trauma Care System Hospital Map.

Participation in Wisconsin's trauma system is voluntary

The state has focused efforts on strengthening communications to maintain relationships and interest in the system at the state level, and on increased visibility at the regional level. At times, key constituents such as EMS Medical Directors, emergency room physicians, and trauma surgeons find it difficult to participate due to heavy workloads and competing priorities.

Wisconsin's integrated system of trauma care requires the identification of hospitals as trauma care facilities by using the Level I, II, III, IV or "unclassified" structure. This inclusive system recognizes that all hospitals in Wisconsin (and neighboring states) have an important role in providing optimal treatment to the injured patient. It is imperative that patients are delivered in a timely manner to the closest appropriate hospital matching resources to the needs of the severely injured patient.

The following defines each level for Trauma Care Facilities:

  • Level I: Hospital is characterized by capability to provide leadership and total care for every aspect of traumatic injury from prevention through rehabilitation, including research.
  • Level II: Hospital provides the initial definitive trauma care regardless of the severity of injury, but differs from Level I in teaching and research capability.
  • Level III: Hospital provides assessment, resuscitation, stabilization, and emergency surgery and arranges transfer to a Level I or II facility for definitive surgical and intensive care as necessary.
  • Level IV: Facility provides stabilization and advanced trauma life support prior to patient transfer to a Level I or II.
  • Unclassified: Hospital has chosen not to be part of the Trauma Care System or has not been approved as a Level I, II, III or IV.
Last revised August 24, 2022