Statewide Pediatric Emergency Care System Helps Arizona Families

By Tomi St. Mars

Seven years ago- we began work to establish a new regionalization system to improve care for children.   After several years of creating criteria and encouraging hospitals to participate we now have a statewide pediatric prepared emergency care system to help families whose children get sick or injured that includes 7 Advanced Prepared centers, 4 Prepared Plus and 11 Prepared Care ED’s across Arizona.

Built on the philosophy that all emergency departments care for children, the Pediatric Prepared Emergency Care (PPEC) is a voluntary certification program established to improve outcomes for Arizona’s ill and injured children through an inclusive system of regionalizing pediatric emergency care for the emergency department.  The Az Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AzAAP) serves as the certifying body for Pediatric-Prepared Emergency Care.

This model built on the successful framework of the Perinatal Trust.  It is a public/private partnership between hospitals, physicians, nurses, and emergency personnel, the AzAAP, and the Emergency Medical Services for Children program at ADHS.  Through certification, emergency departments show they have met specific criteria, developed by a broad group of stakeholders, for personnel training, policies, quality improvement activities, equipment and facilities that support optimal care for ill or injured infants, children, and teens.

We don’t have the statutory authority that requires emergency departments to participate, but we do recognize the importance of having the necessary resources and provider expertise to care for children.  Currently 40% of our ED’s agree with us and are participating!   I’m excited to think about the progress we’ve made, and how we continue to move the needle on pediatric emergency care in Arizona- contributing to ”Health and Wellness for all Arizonans”.

Tomi St. Mars is the Chief of the Office of Injury Prevention Arizona Department of Health Services.