Cedars-Sinai

Medical Staff Pulse Newsletter

President's Perspective: Mission And Values

By Thomas M. Priselac, President and CEO

She was driving southbound on Vermont Avenue, having just gotten off work to pick up her son from after-school care. In a split second, a speeding northbound driver veered sharply into her lane, causing a head-on collision. Los Angeles Fire Department trucks were on the scene in minutes and quickly determined that her injuries were severe: traumatic brain injury, serious internal bleeding, multiple skull and spinal fractures, and a crushed left leg. 

While the above is a hypothetical example, on a daily basis in Los Angeles every one of us potentially is just a few seconds away from a traumatic injury. Whether it's a head-on car collision, a serious power-tool accident, a train crash or a gun shooting, traumatic injuries usually happen without warning, and lives are changed in an instant.  

As one of just four Level I adult trauma centers in Los Angeles County, Cedars-Sinai receives the most severely injured trauma patients from throughout the county.

For this and many other reasons, our trauma center serves as a great example of Cedars-Sinai's role in strengthening the health of the community and as a reflection of our values throughout the institution.

Equity of Care

Every patient receives the same high-quality care from our expert team, regardless of their background, income, insurance status or any other factor.

Regional Resource

As a Level I trauma center, we provide the most advanced clinical and technical expertise for trauma care 24/7. For example, Level I trauma centers always have a trauma surgeon available in-house, as well as a neurosurgeon, orthopaedic surgeon and other specialists readily available around-the-clock. Because there are only four Level I adult trauma centers in the entire county, we receive and treat patients from across the region. Although it is costly to maintain a Level I trauma center, it is an important part of our commitment to the community.

Supporting the Uninsured

For those trauma center patients who are uninsured or underinsured, Cedars-Sinai bears the cost of the unreimbursed portion of their care. Due to the severity of trauma injuries and the length of hospitalization required, Cedars-Sinai's financial contribution can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for an individual patient. Because Cedars-Sinai bears the cost of keeping our trauma center open, we enable other hospitals without Level I trauma centers to keep their costs down, which is a reason they can offer lower prices.

Teamwork

I've often said that healthcare is a team sport, and our trauma center is an excellent example. Working under very urgent timeframes, every member of the trauma team understands their role and the roles of their colleagues. As a result, they work together seamlessly. Surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, surgical techs, imaging specialists, pharmacists, social workers and many others all play crucial roles in caring for our trauma patients during their stays at Cedars-Sinai.

Research and Education

As an academic medical center, research and education are key to our mission. Although the immediate focus in our trauma center is always on patient care, the team also conducts important research on patient outcomes after severe injuries and the basic science involved in trauma care. For example, one of their recent translational research projects—showing improved survival rates by using beta-blocker medication immediately after traumatic brain injury—has changed trauma procedures nationwide. Equally important, the trauma center conducts numerous community education programs on topics such as injury prevention and teen driving. Our large clinical volume and academic focus have greatly expanded the opportunities for postgraduate education with highly prized fellowships in orthopaedic trauma and in surgical critical care and trauma.

Our trauma center provides a great example of the institutional values and community commitment that are demonstrated every day throughout Cedars-Sinai. When combined with the expertise and compassion of each of our staff and volunteers, you begin to get a sense of the important role Cedars-Sinai serves in caring for and strengthening the many communities of Los Angeles.