EIIC: Emergency Medical Services for Children | Innovation and Improvement Center

GAO Releases Report: Pediatric Trauma Center: Availability, Outcomes, and Federal Support Related to Pediatric Trauma Care

Pediatric trauma—a severe and potentially disabling or life threatening injury to a child resulting from an event such as a motor vehicle crash or a fall—is the leading cause of disability for children in the United States. More children die of injury each year than from all other causes combined. GAO was asked to examine issues related to pediatric trauma care.

This report examines (1) what is known about the availability of trauma centers for children and the outcomes for children treated at different types of facilities, and (2) how, if at all, federal agencies are involved in supporting pediatric trauma care and how these activities are coordinated. GAO analyzed data on the number of pediatric and adult trauma centers in the United States relative to the pediatric population under 18 years of age. GAO used 2015 data on trauma centers from the American Trauma Society's Trauma Information Exchange Program and 5-year population estimates for 2011-2015 from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which were the latest available data at the time of GAO's analysis. GAO also reviewed the existing peer-reviewed, academic literature on outcomes for pediatric trauma patients, interviewed stakeholder group representatives and federal agency officials involved in activities related to hospital-based pediatric trauma care, and reviewed available agency documentation.

Find the highlights and the full report here.