Designation indicates the highest quality patient care to burn patients from time of injury through rehabilitation.
New Orleans – The Burn Center at University Medical Center New Orleans has received verification from the American Burn Association (ABA), becoming one of only 18 verified burn centers in the South and the only verified burn center along the Gulf Coast between Galveston and Tampa.
Burn center verification provides a mark of distinction for a burn center and is an indicator to government, third-party payers, patients and their families, and accreditation organizations that the center provides high quality patient care to burn patients from the time of injury through rehabilitation.
“Verification from the American Burn Association is an affirmation of the extraordinary work of our Burn Center team,” said Danny Hardman, CEO of University Medical Center. “Since opening, the Center has distinguished itself in patient care, research, education, and outreach. I’m incredibly proud of what the team has been able to accomplish.”
To achieve ABA verification, burn centers must meet rigorous standards, including certification and training of personnel, facility resources, hospital and outpatient care, prevention and outreach. The process includes an in-depth site visit by members of the ABA’s verification committee.
The Burn Center at University Medical Center opened in spring 2018 to provide a distinct service in the community for those suffering burn injuries. It provides a multidisciplinary approach offering the latest surgical and non-surgical techniques. The Burn Center comprises 20 intensive care inpatient beds with a comprehensive clinic that includes rehabilitative, reconstruction, counseling, and wound care services. Since opening they have treated over 5,700 patients in clinic and admitted over 500 patients.
Dr. Carter, an LSU surgeon and Medical Director of the Burn Center, said that no burn center in U.S. history has gone from opening to verified this quickly and credits the incredible team of nurses, therapists, and staff specializing in burn care. He stated, “The Burn Center met all 113 criteria with no deficiencies and years ahead of schedule. Only half of the burn centers in North America ever reach this distinction. This is the result of visionary leadership by University Medical Center and LSUHSC to enable a committed healthcare team to serve an unmet need in our community. I am proud to be part of University Medical Center’s comprehensive Burn Team and look forward to advancing the care of injured patients in Louisiana through community education, innovative treatments, and advanced research.”
Under Dr. Carter’s leadership, the Burn Center played a prominent role in research with regional and national recognition including the investigation of the RECELL System to treat acute thermal burns with “spray skin,” leading to FDA approval in 2018. More recently, the Burn Center’s research has expanded to include new treatments for pediatric patients with burn injuries, skin substitutes that mimic skin and aid in healing, medications applied to the skin that could minimize the need for surgery, and artificial intelligence to help clinicians tailor a patient’s medical care more quickly and accurately.
The Burn Center team has not only demonstrated a commitment to excellence in acute care after burn injury, but in the management of the scars that develop after thermal injury as well. Dr. Carter stated, “We’ve recognized that the next frontier of burn care is in mitigating the impact of scarring on burn survivors’ quality of life, function, and appearance. One of the most important ways we’ve helped improve all of these patient-centered outcomes has been through the performance of laser-treatments to soften burn scars and improve their pliability.” Since beginning to laser burn scars in August of 2019, the Burn Center has treated the scars of more than 150 burn survivors.
The Burn Center also started Louisiana’s only Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (S.O.A.R.) program, which is the gold standard in burn support programs per the Phoenix Society. Dr. Carter stated, “Treating the scars on the outside is only the beginning. We have to remember that recovery from burn injury includes treating the scars on the inside like fear, depression, or anxiety.” Katie Mai, who co-founded the support program at University Medical Center, stated, “My experience with the program has been transformational. I have seen patients covered in soot in the emergency room with severe injuries restore their smiles and become leaders in our local burn community.”
University Medical Center is now the state’s only healthcare facility with an American Burn Association (ABA) verified Burn Center and an American College of Surgeons-verified Level 1 Trauma Center. Having a trauma and burn center in the same institution can be the difference between life and death for someone who is critically injured and in need of specialized treatment.