UMC Trauma Hosts Tour of Trauma Center for Members of Arizona Indian Gaming Association, July 8

Friday, July 8, 2011 - 11:15am to 2:00pm
In appreciation for the Arizona Indian Gaming Association’s continued support for trauma and emergency services in Arizona, University Medical Center and the University of Arizona Department of Surgery are hosting a presentation and tour of the UMC Trauma Center for AIGA member tribes on Friday, July 8, 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The presentation at 11:15 to 1 p.m. in Kiewit Auditorium, and tour at 1:15-2 p.m. in the trauma center, will be led by Peter Rhee, MD, medical director, UMC Trauma Program and chief, Division of Trauma, Critical Care and Emergency Surgery, UA Department of Surgery. During their first-time visit, AIGA tribal leadership will learn about the critical trauma services UMC provides for Southern Arizona.
In November 2002, Arizona voters passed Proposition 202, which enabled the tribes to sign new compacts with the state of Arizona. The terms of the compacts stipulate that Arizona’s 15 tribes with gaming operations will contribute a portion of their Class III Net Win to the Arizona Benefits Fund. Twenty-eight percent of the shared revenue from Indian gaming reimburses Arizona hospitals for uncovered trauma and emergency services. Tribal leaders made the decision to direct a percentage of gaming revenues to trauma and emergency services after learning that these centers were in danger of being closed because of a lack of funding. Since 2002, revenues from Indian gaming have contributed more than $151 million to support trauma and emergency services throughout Arizona.
Currently, the proposition funds allotted to UMC pay about 6 percent of the hospital’s $46 million annual Level I trauma costs. The funds have helped expand emergency services in Southern Arizona, including new trauma suites and the addition of seven trauma surgeons in the last three years. One of eight Level I trauma centers in Arizona supported by Proposition 202, the UMC Level I Trauma Center is the busiest, serving a population of 1.5 million residents. It also is among the nation’s leaders in length of hospital stay, low treatment costs and low mortality rates.
Dr. Rhee said, “Without the money made available to the trauma centers from the tribal leaders, the trauma center in Tucson would not be where it is today and I could not be in Tucson.”
Rainer W.G. Gruessner, MD, chairman of the UA Department of Surgery, added, “The financial support through revenue from Indian gaming has made it possible for UA Department of Surgery to build a nationally recognized Division of Trauma, providing state-of-the-art care for the citizens of Tucson and Southern Arizona, as exemplified during the tragic event on Jan. 8 when 8 trauma victims, within 1 hour, received the best trauma care possible.”