Alabama Press Release
Embargoed For Release at 11 am (ET)
January 16, 2014
Julie Lloyd, 202-370-9292
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Alabama Receives a Near-Failing Grade for its
Lack of Support for Emergency Patients
Alabama’s severe medical workforce shortage in the area of emergency medicine is compounded by shortages in other specialties, such as neurosurgery, orthopedics and mental health, which restricts access to care. Alabama saw three hospital closures in 2011, which further restricts access to care. To improve its grade for Access to Emergency Care, Alabama must focus on attracting and retaining a robust medical workforce.
The state’s failing grade for Public Health and Injury Prevention results from extremely high rates of traffic fatalities, homicides, suicides, fire or burn related deaths, chronic diseases and smoking. Stronger seatbelt laws and legislation to promote smoke-free environments would improve the state’s public health grade.
The state received a grade of C for Quality and Patient Safety Environment in part because of the very low ratio of emergency medicine residents to population (6.2 per one million).
Alabama’s grade and rank for Medical Liability Environment held steady at a D and 31st in the country, which would be improved by placing a $250,000 medical liability cap on non-economic damages, among other things.
“Alabama’s high rates of fatal injuries are reflected in our failing grade for Public Health and Injury Prevention,” said Dr. Lewis. “Emergency physicians save one life at a time, but investment in injury prevention efforts can save thousands.”
“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.
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