‘We must restore the community’s trust’: Medical center regains trauma center designation

Illinois Department of Public Health restores Waukegan-based medical center’s Level II Trauma Center designation

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday reached an agreement with Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan to restore the hospital’s Level II Trauma Center status.

The move allows emergency medical service providers to resume taking some trauma patients to the medical center rather than other facilities farther away. The designation had been revoked Feb. 2 due to a lack of essential services, including a blood bank, anesthesia, neurology, urology, and a full-time trauma coordinator.

The department of health informed EMS providers, as well as other trauma center medical directors and coordinators that the designation was restored, effective immediately.

‘We hope they get things back in order very quickly’: Concerns raised with revocation of Vista East’s Level II Trauma Center designation

“IDPH’s goal throughout the period since Feb. 2 has been to work with the hospital management to ensure they can provide the essential, lifesaving trauma care for the people of Lake County and the surrounding area that are required to hold a trauma center designation,” the state agency said in a statement.

State Sen. Adriane Johnson, a Buffalo Grove Democrat, said weeks of uncertainty left the community “upset and afraid.”

“We heard from countless individuals wanting answers about Vista’s future,” Johnson said in a statement Monday. “This is an important step toward keeping the doors to this health care facility open.”

California-based American Healthcare Systems bought Vista last July. CEO Mike Sarian in a statement said Vista “always has been, and remains, committed to providing the highest quality of medical care for the community.”

“Vista provides jobs to over 1,000 employees, and I want to thank each one of them for their hard work in regaining this designation,” he added.

County and health officials on Feb. 5 held a news conference to address the implications of the Trauma II status being revoked. Officials said they were concerned about the facility’s future and asked AHS to keep the community informed about what was being done to improve, replace and expand service.

“In the coming weeks, I will be working with the community to make certain Vista continues to progress,” Johnson said Monday. “We must restore the community’s trust in this vital facility.”

Vista is one of four Level II Trauma Centers in Lake County. Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville is the only Level I Trauma Center in Lake County.

Besides Waukegan, Vista serves North Chicago, Zion, Winthrop Harbor, Beach Park, Antioch, Lake Villa and Wadsworth.

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