Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital is expanding its trauma services in an effort to continue meeting the needs of the Katy area’s growing population.

Over the next two years, hospital staff will invest in hiring and facilities to increase the facility's trauma designation, said Jerry Ashworth, senior vice president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.

The overview

Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital is designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a Level III trauma center. The DSHS issues four trauma designations, with Level IV being the most basic and Level I being the most advanced, according to the DSHS.

Hospital officials plan to apply for active pursuit of a Level II designation in July 2025. Over the next year, the hospital will function as that level and provide 24/7 care by trauma surgeons as well as surgical and critical care specialists, Ashworth said.

The hospital could earn the Level II designation in July 2026.

“At the core of the reason for us [to get the designation], it’s related to us providing the highest level of care that we can possibly provide for people in this community and avoid the need, as much as we can, to transfer patients out of this community, having to transfer them to the [Texas] Medical Center," he said.

This designation would make Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital the highest designated facility in the Katy area, with the other trauma facility being Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus the basic Level IV, according to DSHS data.

Zooming out

The need for the designation is due to the Katy area's growing population, Ashworth said.

Data from Esri, a geographic information system company, puts the Katy area's population at almost 1.03 million, a 153% increase since 2000, according to October 2023 data on the Katy Area Economic Development Council's website.

Moreover, hospital staff treat patients from as far west as San Antonio, Ashworth said.

"The growth rate, ... the complexity of what’s happening out here warrants having a higher level of trauma program," he said. "So for us, it’s about us also doing internal inventory of our facility, of our technology, of our skill set and resources available to be a Level II trauma center."

Digging deeper

An ongoing $167 million hospital expansion, which began in 2022 and will wrap up summer 2025, will aid in this designation, Ashworth said. Among the projects is an emergency room and operating room expansion as well as adding more in-patient beds.

The new ER will open by early October, while the OR expansion will open in November or December, Ashworth said. Following the additions, renovations will begin on the existing spaces to match the addition.

However, the path to Level II isn’t just about facility improvements, Ashworth said. Other requirements include:
  • Hiring additional on-site specialists, such as neurosurgeons
  • A 15-minute response time for a trauma surgeon to be on-site, essentially meaning the hospital will almost always have a trauma surgeon in the building; Level III requires a 30-minute response time
“It’s more than just adding square footage, adding in-patient beds, additional exam rooms; it’s about bringing those specialists to the market that we may have not had previously,” he said.