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Indiana State Department of Health

Trauma System/Injury Prevention Program Home > Indiana's Trauma System > History of Trauma in Indiana History of Trauma in Indiana

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Trauma is an important public health and health care delivery issue because of its major impact on the lives and health of Hoosiers.

Trauma refers to people who have sustained severe injuries, requiring rapid evaluation and transport to specific hospitals with trauma care capabilities, staffed and equipped to provide the comprehensive care needed. All hospital emergency departments are not trauma centers; only 11 Indiana hospitals are American College of Surgeons – verified as trauma centers.

A trauma system is an organized, coordinated effort in a geographic area that delivers the full range of care to all injured patients. Until March 2006, Indiana was among a handful of states with no laws or regulations granting oversight authority for trauma care. Proper oversight is a necessary element of any trauma system. Public Law 155, enacted in 2006 with support from resolutions by the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indiana Emergency Nurses Association, changed that. This legislation designated the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) as the lead agency for a state trauma care system with goals of preventing injuries and coordinating care for injured patients in order to reduce death and disability. No funding was appropriated with this legislation; in fact, of all the states, Indiana appropriates the lowest per capita funding for public health programs. This lack of focus on public health programs is one reason Indiana lags behind many states in trauma system development.


Indiana’s Trauma Timeline


Trauma Care Task Force was first organized.  One hundred people were involved at various times during the early years.  The Task Force came to the following conclusions about the design of Indiana’s trauma system:

  • It’s desirable for all hospitals to eventually be part of the statewide system.
  • Creating a statewide trauma system will mean necessary collaboration between Emergency Medical Services (EMS), hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and public health
  • Legislation will be necessary to create an identifiable and sustainable source of funding for the trauma system.
  • Injury prevention data collection and “best practices” along with widespread public education about trauma and injury will be important parts of the system.


Governor Daniels signs Public Law 155 (now codified at I.C. 16-19-3-28) ordering the ISDH to develop, implement and oversee a statewide comprehensive trauma care system. Sen. Tom Wyss (R., Ft. Wayne) led the effort to get the law passed.

IC 16-19-3-28: State department designated as lead agency of a statewide trauma care system; rule making authority

Sec. 28:

  • (a) The state department is the lead agency for the development, implementation, and oversight of a statewide comprehensive trauma care system to prevent injuries, save lives, and improve the care and outcome of individuals injured in Indiana.
  • (b) The state department may adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 concerning the development and implementation of the following:
    • (1) A state trauma registry.
    • (2) Standards and procedures for trauma care level designation of hospitals.

As added by P.L.155-2006, SEC.2.

In April, the ISDH hired a trauma system manager.


Federal funding from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA 408) for the state trauma registry was received from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).  A contract with a trauma registry software vendor (ImageTrend) was completed and a trauma system retreat was held.

Note: The ICJI funding continues today.


Senate Bill 249, sponsored by Sen. Wyss, passes giving the Department of Homeland Security the authority to adopt EMS triage and transportation protocols.

In September, the ISDH hired its first state trauma registry manager.

In December, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) conducted a consultation visit during which it commented on those aspects of a trauma system in place and recommended a list of actions the state should take to improve its trauma system.


In February, the ACS issued their consultation visit recommendations.

In November, Governor Daniels signed an Executive Order creating the Indiana Trauma Care Committee, which serves as an advisory body to the ISDH on all issues involving trauma.

Presentation to the Indiana Rural Health Association.

Presentation to the Indiana Emergency Nurses Association Symposium.


In February, the ISDH reported that there were 17,000 records in the trauma registry.  The goal of 20,000 records “is now within reach.” 

Note: As of October 2015, there are now more than 150,000 records in the Indiana trauma registry.

In October, the first meeting of the Indiana Trauma Care Committee (previously the Trauma Care Task Force) was held.


In April, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security reconsider a Triage and Transport rule, fulfilling the intent of Sen. Wyss’ bill (Senate Bill 249) of 2008.

In August, the ISDH hired a trauma and injury prevention division director, prioritizing trauma as a division within the agency.

In November, the EMS Commission adopted a rule governing Triage and Transport of injured patients. NOTE: Due to process issues with the original vote, the Commission had to reconsider the rule; the rule did not change substantively.


In January, the ISDH hired three additional staff members: a Trauma Registry manager, Trauma Registry data analyst and an injury epidemiologist, expanding the trauma and injury prevention division’s expertise.

In May the EMS Commission re-adopted the Triage and Transport rule.  In August, the Triage and Transport rule was published.

From June through September, the ISDH completed their first Trauma Tour around the state.


In January, Governor Pence re-issued Governor Daniels' original Executive Order creating the Indiana Trauma Care Committee, which serves as an advisory body to the ISDH on all issues involving trauma.

In March, the ISDH and IDHS EMS Commission worked together to approve "In the process of ACS verification" trauma centers for purposes of the Triage and Transport Rule, which will greatly increase the number of trauma centers in Indiana.

In April and May, the ISDH completed their second Trauma Tour around the state.

In June and July, the ISDH completed their Training Tour around the state.

In November, the Trauma Registry rule was published.


In January, the ISDH hosted the first statewide EMS Medical Director's Conference.  The ISDH also hired an additional staff member: an ISDH EMS Registry manager.

In February and March, the ISDH completed their Trauma Registry Training Tour around the state.

In August, IU Health Arnett Hospital and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital became the state's first ACS verified level III trauma centers.

Note: As of October 2015, the state has 11 verified trauma centers.

In October, the ISDH received $1.4 million from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to gather critical data on violent deaths using the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS).


In March, the ISDH hosted the first statewide Injury Prevention Conference.  The ISDH also hired an additional staff member: an Indiana Violent Death Reporting System (INVDRS) Epidemiologist.

In May, the ISDH hired an additional staff member: an Indiana Violent Death Reporting System (INVDRS) Law Enforcement Records Coordinator.

During the months of June through August, the ISDH completed their 2015 Trauma Tour around the state.

In August, the ISDH hosted the second annual EMS Medical Director's Conference.

In September, the ISDH hired two additional staff members: an Injury Prevention Program Coordinator and an Indiana Violent Death Reporting System (INVDRS) Records Consultant.