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Policy Perspective: Arkansas Trauma System Reduces Preventable Deaths

The following article is from Arkansas Hospitals magazine, a custom publication of Vowell, Inc., which also produces Arkansas Money & Politics.

The state’s trauma system reduced the rate of preventable trauma deaths by about half over five years, and taxpayers saw a nine fold return on their investment in the system, according to a study led by faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

The study, “Does the Institution of a Statewide Trauma System Reduce Preventable Mortality and Yield a Positive Return on Investment for Taxpayers?,” compared figures from before and after the Arkansas Trauma System’s implementation in 2010. It appeared in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons in April.

Before the trauma system, the preventable death rate was 30 percent. Afterward, it dropped to 16 percent. In raw numbers, the rate drop resulted in 79 lives saved over a 12-month period.

The study found that the number of lives saved represented a $186 million annual positive impact on the Arkansas economy, compared to $20 million per year in public funding for the system.

The study was funded by the Arkansas Department of Health.

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