DHS 118.04 authorizes the department to organize and structure Regional Trauma Advisory Councils and to approve the designation of all trauma care geographic regions based on consideration that represents the best care of trauma patients. Since 2006, Wisconsin has had nine geographic regions in the Trauma Care System. In July 2015 Wisconsin transitioned into Healthcare Coalitions. As a result, the nine regions became seven aligning with the hospital regions. The regional Trauma Advisory Councils are typically referred to as RTACs and are structured to be self-directed work groups. The focus of each RTAC is to work on regional needs and to improve the care of trauma patients and their families.
Each RTAC is organized in a manner that facilitates the care of the trauma patient with an identified Resource Hospital for the region. RTACs receive financial support from state funding sources each year to accomplish their objectives. Wisconsin's regional trauma councils include the following:
- Fox Valley
- North Central
- South Central
DHS118.06(1) also defines the purpose for the Regional Trauma Advisory Council (RTAC): "to develop, implement, monitor and improve the regional trauma system." An RTAC must have an executive council that reflects professional representation from out-of-hospital trauma care providers, trauma care facilities, education and injury prevention. The work of the RTAC is outlined in DHS 118.06 and includes:
- Develop a regional triage and transport protocol.
- Resolve conflicts concerning trauma care.
- Develop and implement injury prevention strategies based on performance improvement findings.
- Analyze local and regional trauma registry data.