Renown now a verified Level 2 pediatric trauma center

Renown Regional Medical Center was verified as a Level 2 pediatric trauma center by the American College of Surgeons.

Renown Regional Medical Center was verified as a Level 2 pediatric trauma center by the American College of Surgeons. Courtesy of Renown Health

Renown Regional Medical Center’s service area is more than 100,000 square miles, stretching from Elko to Bishop to Lake Tahoe.

Approximately 250,000 children live within the hospital’s service area, yet regardless of whether they live off Mill Street or hours away in Carlin, the region’s largest hospital network can handle whatever level of pediatric care is required. Renown last week announced it was verified as a Level 2 pediatric trauma center by the American College of Surgeons.

Renown is the only hospital organization in Northern Nevada to achieve Level 2 verification. Chris Nicholas, chief executive officer of Renown Regional Medical Center, said the new Level 2 verification is a momentous occasion for the hospital.

“This verification further exemplifies our commitment to care for the people of Northern Nevada,” he said. “As we continue to witness this unprecedented growth in our community, the pediatric trauma verification aligns seamlessly with our mission to meet and exceed the care needs of our community.

“Time is an important factor when it comes to trauma care, and when patients have to travel longer distances to receive specialized care, it can create additional challenges,” Nicholas added. “We want to make sure we can provide that care as close to home as possible.”

In order to achieve Level 2 verification, the hospital had to demonstrate its ability to provide immediate 24-hour coverage by both general surgeons and specialty care physicians, such as orthopedic and neurosurgeons and emergency medicine. It also had to provide ongoing education for its care teams. The Level 2 verification is reassessed every three years.

Chris Nicholas


Nicholas Mannering, Renown Health’s trauma program manager, said the verification demonstrates Renown’s ability to provide immediate care to any severely injured child within minutes.

We have a team of surgeons, including general, orthopedic and neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, and operating rooms available 24/7, to get a child care within moments of arrival,” Mannering said. “We have state-of-the-art dedicated equipment in the emergency room that’s ready for any pediatric patient that arrives at our center.

“We transfer very few patients out, which is a great service to our community,” he added.

Frieda Hulka, pediatric trauma program medical director at Renown Children’s Hospital, said that becoming a Level 2 pediatric trauma center emphasizes the fact that the hospital provides care and services to the whole spectrum of age ranges in its massive service area.

“In order to be verified, the hospital has to meet several criteria, along with strict criteria for care,” Hulka said. “We have to evaluate our care, our staffing, the facility, and all those things are evaluated every three years.”

Level 1 is the highest level of hospital accreditation, Hulka added. The only difference between Level 2 and Level 1 facilities is that the latter includes a residency program and performs clinical research. In its last accreditation assessment, Hulka said Renown was recommended to strive for Level 2 pediatric trauma verification due to the high number of children being seen at the hospital.

“Over the last few years, we have been working diligently to meet all those criteria,” Hulka said. “On average, we see between 550 and 600 pediatric patients at the hospital, with about one-third being admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit or pediatric ward.”

Renown has 13 trauma surgeons on staff, along with eight orthopedic surgeons, and eight neurosurgeons, she added.

“We have a large cadre of people who are committed to taking care of trauma patients, whether they are adults or children,” Hulka said.

Frieda Hulka


In 2023, Renown unveiled new trauma units on the fifth and ninth floors of the Tahoe Tower. Those spaces had purposely been left unfinished when the tower was constructed in 2009 so the hospital’s service capabilities could continue to grow with the community, Nicholas said.

The ninth floor hosts Renown’s trauma intensive care unit and contains 34 private patient rooms. The fifth floor, meanwhile, is home to Renown Children’s Hospital’s new neonatal intensive care unit and pediatric intensive care unit. The NICU has 49 bassinets, while the PICU has 16 private rooms.

“Today, we boast a cutting edge surgical trauma unit, a pediatric intensive care unit, and the region’s only Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit,” Nicholas said. “This expansion and verification was a collective achievement only made possible by our dedicated physicians, care teams, administrative staff, the foundation, and support of the community and state.”

Capital investment for the pediatric and trauma expansions were part of Renown’s sweeping and multi-year $489 million master facilities plan, which also includes a significant overhaul of its central utility plant that services the entire hospital.

“There was a significant investment in the infrastructure just to build out the fifth floor, as well as extensive training and recruitment of staff – these are highly specialized physicians, nurses and care teams for these patients,” Nicholas said. “Technology also continues to become a much larger part of how we deliver care to our patients.

“We continue to look at the evolving community needs in regard to population growth, and we also have seen neonatal intensive care units in other hospitals either reduce their number of beds or close altogether,” he added. “We are always trying to progress and accommodate the needs of the community.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment