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PEER reviews trauma care fund, makes recommendations

JACKSON — In response to a legislative request, the PEER Committee has conducted a review of the revenues, distributions and expenditures of the Mississippi Trauma Care Systems Fund.

The Legislature created the state’s trauma care system to “reduce the death and disability resulting from traumatic injury.” Participants in the state’s trauma care system are the Department of Health, the department’s Trauma Care Advisory Committee, the seven trauma care regions and their boards of directors, hospitals that have qualified as trauma centers, a burn center, and emergency medical services providers. State law requires the Department of Health to develop the Trauma Care System Plan, which guides the system, and to develop regulations for the system. Data for the system is maintained in a statewide trauma registry.

The Legislature established the Mississippi Trauma Care Systems Fund for use by the Department of Health in the administration and implementation of a comprehensive state trauma care plan. The fund receives revenues from assessments and fees related to vehicles, penalties assessed against hospitals that choose not to participate in the state’s trauma care system and interest on the investment of the fund.

From FY 2009 through FY 2012, the Trauma Care Systems Fund received approximately $101 million in revenues, including approximately $76.4 million from assessments (i. e., on moving traffic violations; speeding, reckless, and careless driving;) and fees (i. e., vehicle license tags; certain distinctive license plates; point-of-sale fees on all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles); approximately $17 million from non-participation fees from hospitals; and, approximately $7.5 million in other revenues, including interest income, returns of funds disbursed in prior years and a transfer of funds from a State Treasury fund closed by the Legislature.

PEER issued these recommendations:

• The Department of Health should immediately begin auditing Trauma Care Systems Fund distributions that have been made to trauma regions, trauma centers and EMS providers since FY 2010. In addition to auditing the data entered into the state’s trauma registry, the department should review regions’ and trauma centers’ financial records to verify the accuracy of expenditure information submitted on the semi-annual applications.

• The Department of Health should require the Joseph M. Still Memorial Burn Center at Crossgates River Oaks Hospital to submit the same type of expenditure information required of Level I-Level III trauma centers.

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