Sen. Goggans proposes more trauma centers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sen. Goggans proposes more trauma centers

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A failed effort to use vehicle registration fees to create more trauma centers in Georgia is back, with one major change.

There's a new proposal to reallocate tag fees you've already paid.

You'll still have a final say, though, if it's put to a referendum.

You've heard the saying , if at first you don't succeed, Rep. Greg Goggans is trying again, this time without a fee hike or tax, but some worry what will be cut to make the network happen.

First responders call it the golden hour, it's the most critical time after a crash or trauma occurs.

"From the time a person is injured until the time he's on the operating table for more definitive treatment then it needs to be in the 60 minute time limit," said Bobby Watkins, Lee County EMS Director.

In Lee and Dougherty Counties that usually means transport by ambulance to the hospital. Airlifting someone to a trauma center takes too long.

"We can generally be on the scene, get the patient packaged, and get them to the hospital in the time that it would take a helicopter to get here," said Watkins.

The closest designated trauma centers are in Thomasville or Macon. With the merger between Phoebe and Palmyra they're considering creating a designated trauma center.

"Creating a position to hire someone to be a trauma nurse coordinator to begin putting things together to even assess if we should become a designated trauma center," said Dr. Doug Patten, Phoebe V.P. Medical Affairs.

That's where state funding could help, 14 Georgia hospitals have trauma centers, but there's no coordination between the hospitals. That's where the network comes in.

"So that patients move to the correct facility most appropriately and most timely," said Patten.

The current proposal would take $10 already factored into your tag renewal and redirect it toward the development of the trauma network.

"The more trauma centers we have then the closer one's going to be to your area so that person can receive better treatment and faster treatment," said Watkins.

Something first responders know ultimately saves lives.

Others have suggested a tax on alcohol or fuel to raise revenue for a trauma network because many traumas are created by alcohol related crashes.

If the legislature approves Sen. Goggans proposal, it would be placed on the November 2012 ballot.

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