When it comes to emergency care services for young patients, not all hospitals are equipped with specialty pediatric staff at all times.
Nor can every hospital possibly maintain the equipment or the resources to specifically provide for pediatric patients.
But that’s changing in Arizona. Health and medical professionals hope to continue to raise the level of quality emergency care services to meet the needs of children with a new voluntary certification program.
Pediatric-Prepared Emergency Care (PPEC) certification was designed to establish pediatric standards for emergency departments. Hospitals and medical centers who choose to participate in certification must meet specific criteria and stand prepared to provide emergency care resources especially for pediatric patients.
Arizona is one of only five states to implement such a specialized pediatric emergency care system, according to the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AzAAP) and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).
If necessary, certified hospitals will be able to help stabilize a child for transfer to a facility that offers more specialized pediatric care. The program is the result of a public/private partnership between the ADHS and the AzAAP.
“This collaboration should give families peace of mind,” says Tomi St. Mars, RN, chief, Office of Injury Prevention for ADHS, which has led efforts to establish the certification since 2008.
In 2010, ADHS partnered with AzAAP to establish this certification, perform reviews and offer continuing pediatric emergency education.
Only hospitals that are members of the chapter’s partnership can apply for certification. Membership fees will eventually sustain the program, and the partnership expects that additional Arizona hospitals will be certified in the future.
Certification is available for three levels of care, based on the availability of specialized medical staff and the degree of board certification and licensing credentials within certain specialty areas.
For example, the director for a Prepared Advanced Center must be a physician certified in pediatric emergency medicine, or certified in pediatrics or general emergency medicine with at least 5 years experience staffing a pediatric emergency department.
Facilities recently approved for Prepared Advanced Care:
- Arizona Children’s Center at Maricopa Medical Center
- Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
- Cardon Children’s Medical Center
- Phoenix Children’s Hospital
- Scottsdale Healthcare – Shea Medical Center
- Tucson Medical Center for Children
- University of Arizona Medical Center ‐ Diamond Children’s Medical Center
Facilities approved for Prepared Plus Care:
Members of the new partnership plan to work on additional key issues in pediatrics for Arizona, says Dr. Arturo Gonzalez, AzAAP board chairman and a Scottsdale-based pediatrician, with an emphasis on growing resources devoted to mental health and disaster preparedness.