About COTS /
In early 1995, members of the Columbus Medical Association began to actively discuss the increasing numbers of young central Ohioans who were dying from preventable traumatic injuries. The Regionalized Trauma System Task Force was established, comprised of eleven physicians and nurses who were local leaders in trauma care. Their mission was to explore possible solutions to increase victim survival after a critical trauma event in central Ohio and to address public injury prevention education. In 1997 the group was renamed the Franklin County Trauma Committee as they sought the participation of all local hospitals and EMS agencies. However trauma surpassed the Franklin County metropolis as contiguous counties’ hospitals and EMS providers were increasingly utilizing Columbus trauma centers for critical victims’ care. The name was changed to the Central Ohio Trauma System (COTS) Foundation and was incorporated in 1997. Board of Trustees members were seated and included representatives from hospitals, EMS agencies, local government, public injury prevention programs, and the Columbus Medical Association. In 1998, the Central Ohio Trauma System Foundation was officially established as it received 501(c)(3) non-profit status and hired its first employees. However the “Foundation” designation was found to be misrepresentative of COTS’ mission and goals in the community. In 1999 “Foundation” was legally deleted by formal trade name registration with the Ohio Secretary of State and the current name of Central Ohio Trauma System, or COTS, was identified.
COTS’ earliest work included establishing the COTS Regional Trauma Registry, convening stakeholder groups to ascertain local trauma care issues, and teaching stakeholders about “getting the right (trauma) patient to the right hospital in the right amount of time.” Trauma stakeholders had not heard of COTS, nor did they know what a “regional trauma system” was. Originally, only hospitals, EMS and public health within Franklin County were involved with COTS, but it did not take long for contiguous counties to participate once they recognized the benefits of regional collaboration through COTS. COTS has grown from serving stakeholders in one county to serving stakeholders in twenty Central Ohio counties.
Now COTS is a significant force in the Central Ohio community around issues of trauma, emergency services and emergency preparedness. COTS is THE organization where patient care issues affecting more than one stakeholder group can be brought and addressed in a neutral forum. COTS is the one place in Central Ohio where no matter which stakeholder groups are involved in addressing the issue---hospitals, EMS, public health---the PATIENT is always at the center of decisions being made. COTS’ work is to ultimately benefit patients, although no direct patient care services are provided through COTS. COTS facilitates the work of often-disparate disciplines of emergency medical care providers who are passionate about patients, saving lives, and improving healthcare systems. In the COTS forum, stakeholders who “show up” to address issues are considered to be colleagues regardless of their discipline.
Over the years, COTS has expanded its focus from “trauma-only” to also include emergency medical care issues such as emergency department diversion, patients with STEMI and strokes, and transportation of patients with concealed carry weapons. Most recently, COTS has taken on a large role in coordinating the collective disaster preparedness of the region’s hospitals and other health care systems.
COTS’ success is due to the tireless dedication of many stakeholders---physicians, nurses, EMS providers, public health experts, emergency response personnel, registrars, program coordinators, administrators and countless others.
COTS is an affiliate of the Columbus Medical Association