The Eastern Regional Advisory Committee (ERAC) was organized in 1998 to implement and coordinate a regional trauma system and thereby improve trauma care in eastern North Carolina. The committee's activities and purpose were mandated by the NC General Assembly, which passed the Trauma Systems Act in that year.
ERAC is composed of representatives from the 29 counties that make up the referral region for the Level I Trauma Center at Vidant Medical Center. Members of ERAC represent several areas of trauma care: prehospital providers; physicians, nurses, and administrators from the regional hospitals; and community volunteers.
The Trauma Systems Act specifies the following components to be part of a regional trauma system:
- Education for the public and for trauma care providers.
Public education should include system access information and prevention. Provider education, which includes both hospital and prehospital personnel, is focused on ensuring that providers at all levels have the knowledge they need to safely and efficiently care for trauma patients.
- Trauma care guidelines .
Trauma protocols must be developed for the region. These protocols will address triage, assessment, and transfer of trauma patients at both the prehospital and emergency department levels.
- Diversion policies.
A diversion policy must be developed that outlines procedures to be followed when the trauma center no longer has the resources to adequately care for trauma patients needing transfer.
- Dispatch protocols.
Regional dispatch protocols must be developed.
- System evaluation tools.
A regional quality improvement program needs to be developed and implemented.
To ensure that all of these requirements are addressed, ERAC members have volunteered to work on four subcommittees. Guidelines/Quality Improvement; Public/Provider Education; Communications; and Research. The goals and objectives of each of these committees relate to one or more of the above listed elements.
In addition, since the events of September 11, 2001, the scope of responsibility for the regional advisory committees has expanded to include regional disaster preparedness. Each RAC has been asked to develop a subcommittee including public health directors, regional response teams and emergency management personnel. These representatives will work together to develop a regional disaster plan.
For more information, call 252-847-4299.