ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Two days after Governor Rick Scott signed a bill changing a longstanding law capping the number of trauma center allowed in Florida, Orange Park Medical Center has earned its spot as a permanent Level-2 trauma center.
A Level-2 trauma center provides 24-hour access to a dedicate operating room for trauma patients and specially-trained surgeons.
The decision comes after a judge ruled the Florida Department of Health improperly allowed the hospital to open a trauma center in 2016.
UF Health Jacksonville hospital, which has long run a trauma center in neighboring Duval County, launched a legal fight after the department allowed the Orange Park trauma center to open.
UF Health Jacksonville argued that state rules only allowed one trauma center in a five-county region of Northeast Florida. A judge agreed.
But under administrative law, the issue went back to the department for a final order.
In part, the final order said the department is not required to determine a need for trauma centers before giving provisional approval.
“We’re grateful that our elected officials recognize how critical trauma care is to our community,” said Dr. Jeffrey Levine, Trauma Surgeon and former Trauma Medical Director at Orange Park Medical Center. “Their support, in addition to that of the local fire and rescue teams, has helped make this a reality for our community.”
The news comes just one week before the hospital launches its Stop the Bleed Program, which helps educate community residents on how they can help stop uncontrolled bleeding until emergency responders arrive. The program begins Friday, March 30.
The bill changes the number of trauma-service areas from 19 to 18 and makes clear that no service area can have more than a total of five Level-1, Level-2, Level-2/pediatric and stand-alone pediatric trauma centers.