Lawmakers should help burn victims

Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, has proved that sometimes common sense can prevail in Washington. In the process he has done a service for victims of severe burns.

Most people probably believe a hospital trauma center’s purpose is to treat victims of any serious injuries. But for many years, the official federal government definition of “trauma” excluded injuries caused by burns of any kind.

That affected federal grants and other activities supporting health care facilities. Burn centers could not participate in federal programs designed to improve trauma care.

While that may sound like a bureaucratic technicality, it has had a very real effect on treatment of burn victims, as health care professionals noted in urging the government definition of “trauma” be altered.

Johnson introduced a bill to do just that. His “Improving Trauma Care Act” is, as Johnson pointed out, “a straightforward, common sense, bipartisan bill.”

So clear was the need that it appears there was no opposition to the bill. It was approved in the House of Representatives by a voice vote.

Now the measure moves to the Senate. Lawmakers there should waste no time in approving it – and demonstrating that on some important issues, Congress can be bipartisan and can pursue worthwhile goals.