State health commission to seek permanent funding

Members of the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission met today at The Medical Center of Central Georgia, and at a news conference afterward asked the General Assembly to find a permanent source of funding for the commission before this legislative session ends.

Time is short — there are just six days left in the session.

The state established the commission in 2007 to oversee funds set aside for trauma caregivers and to organize the network of hospitals and emergency services to enhance the level of emergency care available to patients.

Commission Chairman Dr. Dennis Ashley said there have been four meetings of the commission since its formation, and subcommittees have been formed to find an executive director and gather data on trauma costs and indigent care.

"I think you can see in a very short period of time we've come a long way," he said. The commission is poised to pick up a one-time payment of nearly $53 million from this year's supplemental budget. Members now are watching legislation in the state Senate that would add a $10 charge to car tags to supplement trauma care on an ongoing basis.

"I think that would be the best funding method," Ashley said.