In spite of Blake Rutherford’s insistence that I am anti-health (I told him I prefer pro-illness), I went down to the town hall meeting hosted by the Arkansas Trauma Advisory Council yesterday day to hear them make their pitch for a new statewide trauma system. I have to admit that their case was quite compelling. In short, the trauma system would ensure that individuals suffering a trauma are routed to the nearest trauma facility that is prepared to treat them. The Council estimates that this system will save between 200 to 600 lives a year, or around a life a day. Here Dr. James Graham, chief of emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital and chairman of the Arkansas Trauma Advisory Council, speaks with the press about the need for the system.
Of course, as with any good idea regarding how government can help us, the difficult question is the funding. The Council estimates that it will requires approximately $35 million annually to fund the program, with most of this money, $21.375 million going for hospital readiness and a call center. In the clip below, members of the council discuss the difficultly they have had in getting these funds approved by the legislature.
A number of legislators and elected officials were on hand for the meeting. In this clip, newly elected Representative John Edwards of Little Rock goes on record supporting the proposal discussing how he saw first hand how the military’s trauma system saved lives as he fought in Iraq.
Here Rep. Richard Carroll discussed why he supports the trauma system and believes the cigarette tax is the best way to pay for it. He goes on to state that he thinks the cigarette tax should be at least 50 cent a pack if not more. He also talks about what is like to be the only Green Party member of the legislature and the importance of third parties.