What are my state's grades? Find them at www.emreportcard.org
WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New York saw improvements in the category of Access to Emergency Care, but dropped in two other categories, receiving an overall C grade in the American College of Emergency Physicians' (ACEP) state-by-state report card on America's emergency care environment ("Report Card"). The state has the fourth longest average emergency department wait times and the highest hospital occupancy rate in the nation.
According to the Report Card, New York increased the number of registered nurses, specialists and board-certified emergency physicians since 2009. At the same time, the state had the fourth fewest emergency departments per capita (8 per 1 million people), and the number of staffed inpatient beds has decreased since 2009, all of which contributes to emergency department boarding and crowding.
"New York ranks among the top five states in the nation for its disaster preparedness policies, but we have a lot of work to do to reduce the wait times in our emergency departments," said Dr. Daniel Murphy, president of the New York Chapter of ACEP. "We also have one of the worse medical liability environments in the country, which affects people's access to emergency care."
According to the Report Card, the state received an F in the category of Medical Liability Environment related to having the highest number of malpractice award payments in the country (6.1 per 100,000 people) — a two-fold increase since the 2009 Report Card.
New York earned a B in the category of Disaster Preparedness and is one of only 11 states with a budget line item specifically for health care surge capacity and one of 14 state that requires training in disaster management and response for emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. New York also has some of the highest per capita rates of physicians and behavioral health professionals registered in the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals.
Despite an increase in Medicaid fee levels for office visits between 2007 and 2012, the state's fee levels are still only 77.3% of the national average, creating an additional barrier to care.
The Empire State also continued to improve in the category of Public Health and Injury Prevention with a significant increase in the proportion of people wearing seatbelts and a requirement that motorcycle riders wear helmets. This has contributed to the third lowest rate of traffic fatalities in the nation.
The Report Card's recommendations for improvement include:
- Fund a state EMS medical director.
- Support a statewide quality improvement initiative to allow for standardization of care and to further align EMS with established quality improvement systems.
- Increase access to primary and mental health care.
- Enact medical liability reforms that include legislation to provide protections for care mandated by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.
- Reduce the long emergency department wait times, boarding and crowding in hospitals.
- Institute graduated driver's license laws that require a greater number of supervised practice hours and a ban on teen passengers.
- Improve immunization rates for the elderly and for children.
"America's Emergency Care Environment: A State-by-State Report Card – 2014" evaluates conditions under which emergency care is being delivered, not the quality of care provided by hospitals and emergency providers. It has 136 measures in five categories: access to emergency care (30 percent of the grade), quality and patient safety (20 percent), medical liability environment (20 percent), public health and injury prevention (15 percent) and disaster preparedness (15 percent). While America earned an overall mediocre grade of C- on the Report Card issued in 2009, this year the country received a near-failing grade of D+.
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.
Follow ACEP on Twitter @emergencydocs
SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)