ECMC Receives National Verification for Trauma Center

American College of Surgeons confers elite status on medical center

BUFFALO, NY – June 12, 2015 – The national Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) this week named Erie County Medical Center a Level I Trauma Center, only the fifth in New York.

The ACS Committee on Trauma – from which two designees visited ECMC March 10-11 for an on-site review – provides confirmation that a trauma center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest-quality trauma care for all injured patients. The ACS notification specifically indicated that absolutely no deficiencies were found in the review and evaluation process. Achieving verification means that the hospital voluntarily met criteria that improve the standard of care as outlined by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma’s current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual.

Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1987, the designation program promotes development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients from the prehospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

“Clearly, this is a confirmation of ECMC’s commitment to the highest quality trauma care,” said ECMC CEO Richard C. Cleland. “Today, we recognize all of the doctors, nurses, and first responders who have made this Trauma Center system one of the best in the nation.”

There are five separate categories of verification in the program. Each category has specific criteria that must be met by a facility seeking that level of verification. Each hospital has an on-site review by a team of experienced site reviewers, who use the current Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual as a guideline in conducting the survey.

“From the trauma center’s first days, ECMC continues to stand on the shoulders of great clinicians and community emergency personnel who have worked together to insist on excellence,” said William J. Flynn, M.D., F.A.C.S., chief of surgery, ECMC; and associate professor/chief, Division of Trauma/Critical Care, Department of Surgery, S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo. “The thousands of patient trauma survival stories are our most gratifying, living proof of success.”

“Recognition by such an esteemed organization as the American College of Surgeons is a great honor for ECMC.  They should be very proud of this accomplishment and the expertise of their entire trauma team in their ability to save many lives in Western New York,” stated Steven D. Schwaitzberg, M.D., professor and chairman, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The College has more than 72,000 members and it is the largest association of surgeons in the world. Longstanding achievements have placed the ACS in the forefront of American surgery and have made it an important advocate for all surgical patients.

The American College of Surgeons cannot release information about a hospital’s trauma center or site visit because the information is confidential. Members of the media can confirm that a hospital’s trauma center has received verification from the American College of Surgeons by contacting the hospital or referring to the list of currently verified trauma centers on the ACS web page at


The ECMC Corporation includes an advanced academic medical center (ECMC) with 602 inpatient beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 30 outpatient specialty care services and Terrace View, a 390-bed long-term care facility.  ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, behavioral health services, transplantation, and rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university and/or members of a private practice plan.  More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and patient experiences—the difference between healthcare and true care™.  

FAQ, American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals 

What is the Committee on Trauma?

The Committee on Trauma (COT), a standing committee of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), works to improve all phases of care of the injured patient and to prevent injuries before they occur. The COT promotes leadership and cooperation of all participants in a trauma center so that the best possible care will be provided to injured patients. The COT also requires the commitment of each facility’s surgeons to the improvement of trauma care. Recognizing that trauma is a surgical disease that demands surgical leadership, the ACS established the Committee on Trauma, its oldest standing committee, in 1922.

What is the Consultation/Verification Program?

Established by the ACS Committee on Trauma in 1987, the Consultation/Verification Program is designed to promote the development of trauma centers in which participants provide the hospital resources necessary to address the trauma needs of all injured patients. The Consultation Program is designed to help hospitals and their personnel prepare for this endeavor. The Verification Program confirms that all the criteria have been met.

What is Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient?

This document is the resource manual of the COT. First published in 1976 as Optimal Hospital Resources for Care of the Injured Patient, the manual established guidelines for the care of injured patients. Subsequent revisions have continued the COT’s commitment to ensuring that resources and personnel for providing optimal care for injured patients are in place in trauma programs. In 1990, the name of this manual was changed to Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient to reflect a change in trauma care and to complement an important and abiding principle of the Committee on Trauma: To ensure that the needs of all injured patients are addressed wherever they are injured and wherever they receive care.

How did the verification program begin?

An obvious outgrowth of the establishment of the COT’s guidelines for optimal care was the development of a verification process through which a hospital could be evaluated by ACS trauma surgeons to determine whether the criteria for optimal care of injured patients were being met. Thus, the Verification/Consultation Program for Hospitals was established in 1987.

How many categories of verification does the program have?

There are five separate categories of verification in the COT’s program (Level I Trauma Center, Level II Trauma Center, Level III Trauma Center, Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and Level II Pediatric Trauma Center), each with specific criteria that must be met by a facility seeking that level of verification.

How does a hospital or clinic receive verification?

The level of verification is requested by the hospital. An on-site review of the hospital is conducted by a team of reviewers experienced in the field of trauma. Using the current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual as a guideline, this team will determine if the criteria for the requested level have been met.