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State can't survive without trauma care
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Editor, This is an open letter to the members of the Georgia General Assembly: Georgia cannot survive without trauma care
We have joined together as representatives of Georgia’s business community to implore you to support initiatives that will create an adequate, dedicated source of funding for statewide trauma care.  
This is a matter not only critical to the health of our citizens, but also to our economy.
The facts speak for themselves. Our state has only 15 trauma care centers when we need at least 25, given our size and population. Trauma patients have the highest chance of a full and quick recovery if treated within the “golden hour,” and millions of Georgia residents would need at least two hours of travel time to reach a trauma unit. Today, only 25 percent of trauma patients are treated in facilities appropriate for their level of injury.  
With vehicle collisions responsible for nearly half of all trauma cases in Georgia, everyone is at risk of needing these critical services. The second leading cause is industrial accidents. What responsible business person would willingly open a company in a state where their employees may not be able to get the help they need?  
While our existing hospitals and doctors have done their best to fill the gaps, we simply will not be able to continue to attract companies to our state if we cannot guarantee access to quality trauma care.  
Patients taken to trauma care facilities have a significantly increased chance of survival and faster recovery because they are treated by specially trained doctors with access to the proper equipment. Hospital stays are shorter and therefore less expensive, which helps keep overall costs down — including insurance rates. As today’s economy forces more Georgians into the ranks of the uninsured, we will all soon feel the growing cost of unpaid medical care.  
The time to act on this critical issue is now. There are several proposals currently before you that would allow Georgia to benefit from not only an increased number of trauma care centers, but also the kind of communications and transport systems that can help get the injured to the right hospital in the shortest amount of time.   
One proposal in particular, the implementation of a $10 vehicle tag fee, would generate approximately $80 million annually, enough to fund the kind of trauma care network our state needs. We urge you to support this concept, which was passed by the Senate and has been introduced in the House. The measure represents a feasible, sustainable source of funding for this critical need.  
The longer we wait, the more lives, time and money we lose.  

Phil Jacobs, Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals (Atlanta)
Sen. Don Balfour, vice president, Waffle House, Inc. (Norcross)
Bryant Beadles, president, Balfour Lumber Company
Ben Hinson, president, Mid Georgia Ambulance Service (Macon)
Doug Hertz, president, United Distributors, Inc. (Smyrna)
Al Hodge, president and CEO, Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce (Rome)
Tommy Holder, chairman and CEO, Holder Construction Company (Atlanta)
John Prince, president, Prince Chevrolet-Oldsmobile (Tifton)
Dr. Daniel Rahn, president, Medical College of Georgia (Augusta)
Charles Tarbutton, assistant vice president, Sandersville Railroad Company (Sandersville)
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