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Healthcare Insights

How many trauma centers are in the U.S.?

Trauma centers are designated hospitals equipped to provide specialized services and resources to patients with traumatic injuries. More than 275,000 people die each year as a result of traumatic injuries, making these hospitals especially critical resources.

How many trauma centers are in the United States?

Definitive Healthcare tracks 2,229 trauma centers in the U.S. through its HospitalView product. Of these, 2,076 are adult trauma centers and 153 are pediatric trauma centers. These trauma centers make up 27% of all hospitals.

Trauma centers have five designation levels: level I, level II, level III, level IV, and level V. The number of each level and descriptions of the care they provide are listed below.

Number of trauma centers by level

LevelNumber of trauma centers Explore dataset
Level I220Explore
Level II326Explore
Level III465Explore
Level IV953Explore
Level V112Explore
Pediatric Level I77Explore
Pediatric Level II61Explore
Pediatric Level III10Explore
Pediatric Level IV5Explore
Pediatric Level V0Explore

Fig. 1. Data is from the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product. The number of facilities represents only those hospitals listed as “active” in the Definitive Healthcare database. Accessed May 2023.

What is the most common trauma center level?

The most common trauma center level in the U.S. is level IV, with 953 centers in the country. The least common trauma center level is level V pediatric. There currently are no level V pediatric trauma centers in the U.S.

What are the different levels of trauma centers?

Each type of trauma center provides a different level of care for patients.

  • Level I trauma centers can provide complete care for traumatic injuries. This includes stages from prevention to rehabilitation.
  • Level II trauma centers are capable of initiating care for all patients.
  • Level III trauma centers provide injury assessment, resuscitation, surgery and intensive care, and stabilization for patients with traumatic injuries.
  • Level IV trauma centers provide advanced trauma life support before patients are transferred to a higher-level center.
  • Level V trauma centers evaluate and stabilize patients, provide diagnostic capabilities, then transfer patients to a higher-level center.

What is a pediatric trauma center?

A pediatric trauma center must meet all the criteria of an adult trauma center. In addition to meeting these criteria, it also must have an on-site pediatric trauma service led by a pediatric surgeon, pediatric trauma-credentialed surgeons, pediatric specialists, a pediatric emergency room and ICU, pediatric resuscitation equipment, and pediatric-specific quality assurance.

Only 7% of all trauma centers in the U.S. are pediatric trauma centers, even though trauma leads to more childhood deaths than any other cause.

Because there are fewer pediatric trauma centers in the U.S., it could be that children are being directed to adult-level trauma centers for treatment since they are more widely available.

Additionally, acquiring the providers, equipment, and resources for a hospital to be designated as a pediatric trauma center could lead to higher operating costs for hospitals.

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