Texas Trauma Facts

Trauma is a disease that can strike anyone at any time. Trauma victims – regardless of the cause of the medical emergency – must reach definitive care within a short period of time, often called the "golden hour," to help prevent death or disability. In 2010, the top two reasons individuals went to the trauma centers were falls and motor vehicle accidents. The comprehensive resources available 24/7 are needed to save lives and limbs that might otherwise be lost. These resources include informed citizens, communications systems, pre-hospital care providers and multidisciplinary trauma teams in emergency departments. With the inclusion of public information, prevention activities and rehabilitation, this coordination of resources is called a trauma system. Studies show that coordination of the emergency medical resources available in an area can result in a major decrease in preventable trauma death rates. In 2011, Texas hospitals had more than 9 million emergency room visits.

Trauma is the leading cause of death for Texans under the age of 44. The state’s case fatality rate was 2.79 percent for 2011, according to the Texas Trauma Registry 2012 Annual Report. A total of 3,274 trauma deaths were reported, and 113,838 trauma victims survived. Texas is a full 1 percent below the national case fatality rate of 3.80 percent. The Texas Trauma System saves lives.

The top five categories for trauma center fatalities in 2010 were:

o Motor vehicle crashes – 36 percent
o Falls – 31 percent
o Assault – 14 percent
o Suicide – 8 percent
o Other transportation related injuries – 4 percent

Transportation-related injuries are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among individuals ages 15-64. Falls are the leading cause of TBI for those 65 and older. Other statistics show that:

o 144,000 Texans sustain a TBI every year
o 381,000 Texans live with a disability due to TBI
o 5,700 Texas residents are permanently disabled every year by TBI.

Since 2004, some 77 hospitals have become designated trauma facilities, and today Texas has 265 designated facilities in 166 counties:

o Level 1 Comprehensive Trauma Centers – the highest level of trauma designation treats the most complex cases: 16 facilities
o Level 2 Major Trauma Facilities – the same services as Level 1 facilities without the research component: 12 facilities
o Level 3 Major Trauma Facilities: 49 facilities
o Level 4 Basic Trauma Facilities: 188 facilities

Designated trauma facilities reported more than $200 million in unpaid trauma care costs in 2011. The Designated Trauma Facility and EMS Account distributed $59 million to help offset these costs in 2011.

The Designated Trauma Facility and EMS Account has a balance of $424.8 million that should be used to support the state’s trauma system. The non-appropriated funds in the account have been used to help balance the state’s budget.

As filed, the House and Senate 2014-15 budgets spend only $59 million per year from the Designated Trauma Facility and EMS Account, while some $133 million is generated. In addition to the annual distribution, the budgets also use some of the trauma funds to support the state’s trauma registry and the Emergency and Trauma Care Education Partnership Program. These are appropriate uses of the monies to improve the Texas Trauma System. In 2011, lawmakers also used $26 million from Account 5111 in Medicaid to secure Federal Medical Assistance Program (FMAP) matching funds, which will help eligible designated hospitals through a “trauma add-on.”

The trauma system plays an important role in disaster response and incidents involving mass victims. Texas’ 22 trauma regional advisory councils (RACs) coordinate emergency and trauma health care within their regions, as well as disaster planning and response activities. The state’s trauma system is vital when a natural disaster – such as a hurricane or tornado – occurs.

Texas needs a strong trauma system. With 25.6 million residents in 2011, Texas ranked second behind California in population. Between 2000 and 2030, the total Texas population is projected to increase by almost 12.5 million – an increase of 59 percent, twice the 29.2 percent change projected for the U.S. More people mean more need for emergency and trauma care, and resources need to be increased to meet the growing demand.

According to Texas Government Code 305.027, portions of this material may be considered “legislative advertising.” Authorization for its publication is made by John Hawkins, Texas Hospital Association, 1108 Lavaca, Suite 700, Austin, TX 78701.