DHS map of classified hospitals in Wisconsin

All hospitals that wish to participate in the Wisconsin trauma care system are classified as a level I, II, III or IV trauma care facility.

  • Level I: Hospital characterized by capability to provide leadership and total care for every aspect of traumatic injury from prevention through rehabilitation, including research. 
  • Level II: Hospital provides the initial definitive trauma care regardless of the severity of injury, but differs from Level I in teaching and research capability. 
  • Level III: Hospital provides assessment, resuscitation, stabilization, and emergency surgery and arranges transfer to a level I or II facility for definitive surgical and intensive care as necessary. 
  • Level IV: Facility provides stabilization and advanced trauma life support prior to patient transfer to a Level I or II. 
  • Unclassified: Hospital that has chosen not to be part of the Trauma Care System or has not been approved as a Level I, II, III or IV. 

Level I & II facilities must go through the American College of Surgeons verification process. Level III & IV facilities self-classify according to Essential/Desirable Criteria developed by the State. The State visits hospitals every three years to review the classification. Prior to the visit the hospital will be asked to complete a pre-review questionaire (PRQ).


Hospital Classification

Wisconsin uses a hybrid system to classify hospitals as trauma care facilities. Hospitals wishing to be considered Level I or II facilities must complete the American College of Surgeons process for verification. Wisconsin has essential and desired criteria for self-designation as a Level III or IV facility. Once a hospital has self-designated as a Level III or IV, the Department of Health Services will conduct a classification visit to confirm adherence to the criteria. Hospitals renew their classification every three years.