The growth in hospital trauma center designations has coincided with increases in improper “trauma alert” coding and billing, leading to astronomical bills for patients and payers. This finding, reported in an investigation by Kaiser Health News (KHN), means payers will have to step up their scrutiny of emergency claims, experts say. Trauma centers are special designations given to hospitals that can provide the highest standard of care in cases of severe, time-sensitive injuries. They employ a specially trained, highly experienced team of doctors and nurses who can scramble to attend to a severely wounded patient in minutes. Traditionally, these teams were stationed in one of several local hospitals and activated when EMTs requested they be ready as soon as the ambulance arrived at the emergency room door.
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