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Howard Hospital earns Level IV Trauma Center status

Awards & Recognition

WILLITS, CA – Frank Howard Memorial Hospital is now recognized as one of 11 Level IV Trauma centers in the state. 

Sonoma County Emergency Services has approved HMH as a Level IV trauma center effective December 1. Accreditation as a Level IV trauma center indicates a hospital staff’s ability to provide advanced trauma life support prior to transfer of patients to a higher level trauma center. Trauma centers provide evaluation, stabilization, and diagnostic capabilities for injured patients.

The only other trauma center in Mendocino County is Ukiah Valley Medical Center, a 20-30 minute drive from Willits. But depending on weather conditions, sometimes the drive can be treacherous or even unpassable during the winter season.

"Earning this designation means patients in Willits and beyond who are seeking care at HMH will be cared for in a standardized manner to assure they are receiving the best care possible for their injuries sustained," said Dr. Michael Medvin, chief medical officer for emergency services at HMH.

"Having us close by to stabilize patients and give them life-saving procedures will improve their health outcomes. We also work directly with Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital to rapidly transport any trauma patient requiring a higher level of care. We also have the ability to share CT Scans/X-rays with the trauma surgeon at SRMH while we are on the phone with them, which means seamless communication and improved outcomes.”

Amy Buckingham, emergency services manager at HMH said that their goal is to strive to improve the care of injured patients before, during, and after hospitalization. “Our goal is to serve the needs of our community so they don’t have to go too far. That’s why we always emphasize continuing education and train with our agency partners so that we know we are constantly striving to provide the best of care,” she explains.

“To qualify as a Level IV trauma center, a hospital must have the protocols, equipment and staff in place to handle trauma patients,” Buckingham adds.

The HMH emergency department also has two trauma rooms, equipped with the best technology and even has access to specialist at UC-Davis Children’s Hospital through telemedicine. “We’ve got all this technology and with this designation, it will really make a difference for our community”

Kevin Erich, interim president and CEO for HMH agrees, “We’re extremely proud of our team and our hospital. It took a lot of work to get this designation and we’re excited to serve our patients better. The more we are able to serve their needs here, the better for our community and their health outcomes.”