Trauma Services Designation Update

On October 1, 2013, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors received the recommendation from the independent, highly qualified trauma services review team on which hospital in Monterey County best meets or will meet the national standards for performing high quality Level II trauma services. Natividad Medical Center (NMC) was recommended for future designation as the Level II Trauma Center for Monterey County by the expert review team. Monterey County residents should feel fortunate that this nationally recognized gold standard process was followed in determining the best facility for trauma care. This landmark, critical decision to select the hospital for future Level II Trauma Center designation will not only benefit trauma patients but will improve the overall quality of health care in our community.

NMC is building a high quality trauma program which was evident in the written proposal and during the successful, comprehensive two-day site visit by the independent review team. NMC has demonstrated a deep, historical, and ongoing commitment to providing quality comprehensive trauma services, many established major tertiary care services, ongoing follow up trauma care services in inpatient and outpatient settings, excellent access for ground and air transport units, and a financially successful designated public safety net hospital.

NMC’s very busy Emergency Department is already providing trauma care every year. We are now actively enhancing these services in preparation to be a trauma center. Current activities include:

  • Working with the Monterey County Emergency Medical Services Agency to develop the implementation plan for NMC’s future designation. 
  • The appointment of Dr. Alex Distante as the NMC Trauma Medical Director. As a fellowship trained physician in trauma critical care, he has extensive trauma care experience. 
  • The appointment of Chelsea Mettler, RN, as Trauma Manger. She is an experienced emergency department nurse with a strong interest in trauma care.
  • A multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, technicians, and hospital management are meeting regularly engaged in quality improvement activities to enhance trauma care services at NMC.
  • Experienced trauma consultants have been retained to guide the development and implementation of clinical policies, procedures, and protocols necessary for Trauma Center designation.
  • Facility, equipment, and system improvements are occurring in multiple departments to elevate trauma care.
  • Expanded staff education and training on trauma care are being implemented.

Trauma care locally is a vital community service that can save lives. Monterey County is the largest of the remaining counties in California without an organized trauma system. Studies have shown that counties with organized trauma systems have lower preventable death rates from trauma than those without organized systems. We believe we are the best facility to address this service gap in our community eliminating the need to fly out critically insured patients to a trauma center in Santa Clara County.

We commit ourselves fully to working cooperatively with the Monterey County Emergency Services Agency to organize and sustain a high-quality trauma system for all residents of the County.


Last Updated: Nov 27, 2013



Natividad Medical Center • 1441 Constitution Blvd. • Salinas, CA 93906 • (831) 755-4111