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Individual expertise in a public safety professional’s field helps to make great strides for positive, upward advancement in new technology and policies, but working together for the greater, common good is a must-have force in the public safety industry. Without the helping hands of each other in working out common issues, the fabrication of the entire public safety realm would unwind into a pile of chaos and unfulfilled execution of duty. The Central Ohio Trauma System (COTS) helps make the collaborative work make the dream work.

COTS, an affiliate of the Columbus Medical Association, consists of a group of physicians and other experts who work together to improve patient outcomes related to trauma, emergency services, and disaster preparedness. Executive Director Sherri Kovach has managed COTS since August 2015 with a colorful, multi-layered past as a registered nurse in the ICU for newborns and older children as well as ground and air-medical critical care transport.  Her ultimate goal is to innovate and expand the collaborative system of emergency, trauma, and disaster care that central Ohio has come to expect and value, and others strive to emulate.  She brings together various levels of expertise to calculate the best algorithm of care. The efforts of all involved in shaping the medical landscape has led COTS from starting in 1997 in the city of Columbus, Ohio, to expanding into Franklin County, to further engaging 15 Central Ohio counties, and in January of 2019, including the 21 South and Southeast Counties of Ohio.

Why does COTS exist? From its grass roots beginning in Columbus, Ohio, there was an increase in violence among youths in the late 1990s with hospitals lacking a state trauma system or registry. Small but mighty, a group of local physicians, nurse trauma care leaders, EMS, and public health professionals combined forces with their individual expertise in order to help patients survive preventable traumatic injuries. Today, 41% of Ohio is working together as COTS, to make sure that each patient has the best outcome ranging from collaborative efforts to educate trauma care providers or to address optimal destination of care and hospital emergency department diversion of EMS to developing standardized best practice guidelines among our partners such as for use during patient care handoff or how a region will work together during a mass casualty incident.  Today, COTS focuses on issues on its three strategic areas of trauma, emergency services, and emergency preparedness in voluntary, neutral forums comprised of partners interested in working together to improve outcomes including but not limited to physicians, nurses, first responders, public health experts, emergency preparedness personnel, registrars, administrators, and government officials.

Kovach says, “It is the one place in Central Ohio where no matter which stakeholder groups are involved in addressing the issue, the patient is always at the center of decisions being made. The work done by the COTS stakeholders ultimately benefits the patient even though no direct care services are provided through COTS.”

COTS has even branched out with Savvik Buying Group in order to provide the best appropriate care through affordable commodities and supplies. COTS makes Savvik Buying Group’s membership available to its working industry professionals, spreading the opportunity of affordable buying power to all.

Its vision to achieve better care for our community through collaboration, education, and prevention has really made its dream into realities as COTS continues to expand across Ohio. From trauma, disaster to emergency services, COTS has it covered to provide what’s mutually best for each patient.

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