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Transport time (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Patty Ostberg
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Ambulances will have to transport patients with an obstructed airway to the nearest trauma hospital, when available.

Sponsored by Rep. Diane Loeffler (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Linda Higgins (DFL-Mpls), a new law states that if a trauma hospital is not within a 30-minute driving distance, the patient must be taken to the nearest hospital.

In cases where the trauma patientís breathing is not impaired, the ambulance must transport a patient to a Level I or II trauma hospital within 30 minutes, or the nearest hospital if a trauma hospital is not within the time frame. An ambulance service medical director can require, however, a person be sent to a higher-designated trauma hospital. This portion of the law is effective July 1, 2010.

Under current law, a Level II trauma center canít be bypassed for a Level I, even if itís closer. The change allows flexibility in determining which care is more appropriate.

The law also requires that the health commissioner, in consultation with the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board, emergency medical services and trauma hospitals, to provide quarterly updates to each regional trauma advisory council regarding major trauma scene ambulance transports. This portion is effective Aug. 1, 2009.


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