In 1999, the state established the Trauma Care Assistance Revolving Fund. The legislation provided for partial reimbursement of uncompensated costs associated with trauma care provided by recognized trauma facilities and emergency medical providers. In November 2004, a state question was passed by the people to initiate a tobacco tax. Funding from the tax enabled the state to greatly assist in the development of a statewide trauma system.
Prior to the enactment of the tobacco tax and other legislative funding initiatives, also enacted in 2004, the state’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, OU MEDICAL CENTER, announced a potential downgrade if adequate funding was not appropriated.
The Oklahoma Trauma System Improvement and Development Act was passed during the 2004 legislative session. The Act:
- Created the Oklahoma Trauma Systems Improvement and Development Advisory Council.
- Created Regional Trauma Advisory Boards with representation from regional hospital and ambulance services.
- Called for development of a statewide trauma system plan.
- Called for the development, regulation and improvement of a trauma system on a statewide basis.
- Requires the development of regional trauma quality improvement activities and a state Medical Audit Committee to review these activities.
The Trauma Fund is a continuing fund that is available from year-to-year
to support the state trauma system. Ninety percent of the money received by the
Trauma Fund is distributed to reimburse trauma facilities, ambulance service providers,
and physicians for uncompensated trauma care expenditures. Of this amount, up
to 30 percent of each distribution is earmarked for physicians. The fund does
not fully reimburse the cost of medical care.