The State of Iowa Trauma Program

The Bureau of Emergency and Trauma Services (BETS) Trauma Program works alongside Iowa’s 118 hospitals to protect and improve the health of all trauma patients injured in Iowa. The Iowa State Trauma Program utilizes trauma registry data, injury prevention and outreach, hospital verification, and performance improvement resources to assist Iowa’s hospitals with optimizing the care of injured patients to improve outcomes and reduce morbidity and mortality from traumatic injury. 

According to the Cost of Injury Report of 2013, from the CDC, the total cost from injuries and violence due to medical and work loss costs was $671 billion, and for every person that dies, 13 are hospitalized and 129 are treated in an emergency room. According to the same report, males account for the majority (78%) of fatal injury costs ($166.7 billion) and nonfatal injury costs (63%; $287.5 billion).  According to the 2017 CDC WISQARS Data set, approximately 243,000 people died from injuries and violence in the United States.  According to the same WISQARS Data set, more than 38,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, almost 35,000 people age 55 and older died from a fall, and approximately 17 in 100,000 children ages 0 - 19 died from an injury.  According to the Iowa Trauma Registry, in 2017, over 20,000 Iowans were admitted to the hospital with a trauma injury. Trauma remains a major problem affecting the health and functionality of Iowans across the state. 

Regulatory Relief to the Health Care System

Regulatory relief to the Health Care System has been included within the proclamation of disaster emergency signed by Governor Kim Reynolds on April 2, 2020. This includes the temporary suspension of regulatory provisions of certain aspects of the trauma system. Included within the proclamation is the temporary suspension of regulatory provisions of Iowa Administrative Code r 641 - 136.2(2) trauma data registry reporting by trauma care facilities within 60 days after discharge. The state trauma program recognizes the challenges hospital trauma programs have faced in regard to the disaster response and keeping up with data entry. If a hospital trauma program has duties related to COVID-19 response that prohibit timely data entry, the hospital trauma program will not face a regulatory burden as it relates to trauma data entry. Please continue to collect and provide accurate trauma data as time allows. Also included within the proclamation is the temporary suspension of regulatory provisions of Iowa Administrative Code r 641  - 137.2 and 137.3 related to initial and continuing trauma education for trauma team members. This would include suspension of the initial and maintenance requirements for ATLS and TNCC for trauma team members. The regulatory relief to the Health Care System will last for the duration of the proclamation of disaster emergency. For any questions, please contact Margot McComas at margot.mccomas@idph.iowa.gov

Cancelled Event : Iowa's 2020 State Trauma and Preparedness Conference

The 2020 State of Iowa Trauma and Preparedness Conference has been cancelled. Please email Margot McComas at margot.mccomas@idph.iowa.gov with any questions.

Iowa Trauma System Consultation 

In 2015, The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, Trauma Systems Evaluation and Planning Committee, evaluated the Iowa Trauma System as part of a consultative effort to improve the quality of the trauma program in Iowa.  The report points out that, "Iowa has a long history of participation in organized trauma care as one of the first states to fully embrace an inclusive trauma system model that provide(s) a role for all acute care facilities, regardless of geographic location or hospital capabilities." The trauma program remains committed to the inclusive trauma system model.  The recommendations outlined in the consultative report for improving the trauma program in Iowa remain the focus of work of the Iowa Trauma Program and the Trauma System Advisory Council and while many recommendations have been achieved, there is still ample room for continued growth and improvement.  The full report can be read at the link directly below.  

Out of Hospital Trauma Triage Destination Decision Protocols

The trauma program has many resources that can be accessed by EMS and trauma programs that are working to optimize the care of injured patients. An Out of Hospital Trauma Triage Destination Decision Protocol has been developed to assist the EMS provider in the identification of time critical injuries, method of transport, and trauma care facility resources necessary for treatment of those injuries.  Protocols have been developed for both adults and pediatrics.

Verification Criteria

The State of Iowa Trauma Coordinator oversees the verification of all Trauma Level III and IV hospitals that are not verified by the American College of Surgeons.  The administrative rules that govern the categorization and verification of each trauma level are in Iowa Administrative Code (IAC 641-134.2 (147A) and (IAC 641-134.2(3) a) and b).  The Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient 2014 by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma is adopted by reference into rule.  These are the criteria by which Iowa trauma facilities are verified.  A quick link to The Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient 2014 can be found below.

Additional resources can be found at the adjacent page links and include: links to the administrative rules which govern the Iowa Trauma System, the Trauma System Advisory Council, education resources, trauma data registry resources, trauma disciplinary action, and the trauma care facilities map. 

The State of Iowa Trauma Program and its advisory councils remain committed to the Iowa Department of Public Health's mission: Protecting and Improving the Health of Iowans. 


This page was last updated in April 2020.


Trauma Program

Lucas State Office Bldg.

321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319


Iowa Department of Public Health


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For use by local public health agencies, hospitals, emergency medical services, emergency management coordinators and other emergency response agencies to notify the IDPH Duty Officer of public health emergencies.