GAO reports on trauma center availability for children

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An estimated 57% of U.S. children live within 30 miles of a level I or II pediatric trauma center, which can treat all injuries regardless of severity, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. State-level estimates range from zero to more than 90%, GAO said. Pediatric trauma centers have specialized equipment and expertise to care for children. Including both pediatric and adult trauma centers, 80% of U.S. children live within 30 miles of a level I or II center, while 88% live within 30 miles of a level I, II or III center, GAO said. Level III centers can stabilize and transfer patients who need more comprehensive care to level I or II centers. Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked GAO to study trauma center availability for children and outcomes for children treated at different types of facilities. “Some of the studies we reviewed suggest that children treated at pediatric trauma centers have a lower risk of mortality compared to children treated at other types of facilities, while other studies found no difference in mortality,” GAO said. 

Topic: Access and Coverage
Tags: child health, access, emergency care

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