Alaska Press Release


Embargoed For Release at 11 am (ET)
January 16, 2014

Media Contact:
Julie Lloyd, 202-370-9292 
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WASHINGTON— Alaska received three F’s, a B and a C in five categories and an overall D gradein the 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP) state-by-statereport card on America’s emergency care environment (“Report Card”). This marksa decline from its performance in the Report Card issued in 2009.


“Weneed to bring all our grades up to the level of our Medical LiabilityEnvironment, for which we earned a B,” said Dr. Carlton Heine, president of theAlaska Chapter of ACEP. “Because of our geography, our state has uniquechallenges. However, policymakers must support programs that improve Alaskans’access to emergency care and health overall.”


Alaskareceived an F in Access to Emergency Care related to issues including workforceshortages, the long distances nearly half the residents live from a Level I orII trauma center and low rates of adequate health insurance. It also received afailing grade for its Quality and Patient Safety Environment, but could improvethat grade by implementing triage and destination policies for stroke and heartattack patients. The third failing grade was in the category of Public Health andInjury Prevention, principally because the state’s public health system is soweak.


Alaska has made great progress and earned a C in the category of Disaster Preparedness. AlaskaRESPOND, the medical strike team, is part of the national ESAR-VHPsystem, and the state has high rankings in the number of nurses and physicians registered in the Emergency System for Advanced Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals.  


Thestrongest grade, a B for Medical Liability Environment, is due to having mandatorypretrial screening panels, joint and several liability reform, and a $400,000medical liability cap on non-economic damages.


“Ourstate needs to fund and support activities related to vaccination and injuryprevention to reverse our poor vaccination rates and highest-in-the-nation rateof fatal occupational injuries,” said Dr. Heine. “Emergency physicians save one life at a time, while investment in injury prevention and public health 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 societyrepresenting emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency carethrough continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered inDallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as PuertoRico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

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