Development of a Unified National Database of Burn Centers With Colocated Emergency Departments, 2020

J Burn Care Res. 2022 Sep 1;43(5):1066-1073. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irab238.


The care of severely burned patients comes with unique requirements for specialized burn centers. The American Burn Association sets guidelines for burn centers and provides a voluntary program to verify their quality of care. However, not all burn centers are verified, and it is unclear which nonverified centers have met requirements set by their state health departments. To compile a complete database of all U.S. emergency departments in facilities with confirmed burn centers, we investigated state requirements to supplement data from the American Burn Association verification process. In 2020, only 13 states set requirements for burn centers; 3 states explicitly required American Burn Association verification, 4 used modified American Burn Association criteria, and 6 used alternate criteria. Only two states had separate requirements for pediatric burn centers. Based on adherence to state and American Burn Association criteria, we identified 90 confirmed burn centers in 2020, 85 of which had emergency departments. Of these 85, 45 (53%) were only verified, 17 (20%) were only state-confirmed, and 23 (27%) were both. Emergency departments in a confirmed burn center were more likely-than those without-to have higher adult and pediatric visit volumes, be academic, be a stroke or trauma (adult or pediatric) center, have a dedicated pediatric area, and have a pediatric emergency care coordinator. We compiled the first unified burn center database that incorporates state and American Burn Association lists. This database can be utilized in future health services research and is available to the public through a smartphone application.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burn Units
  • Burns* / epidemiology
  • Burns* / therapy
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • United States

Grants and funding