Arkansas Press Release
Embargoed For Release at 11 am (ET)
January 16, 2014
Julie Lloyd, 202-370-9292
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ARKANSAS’ LACK OF SUPPORT FOR EMERGENCY PATIENTS
SECOND TO WORST IN THE NATION
WASHINGTON — Arkansas moved from 51st in 2009 to 50th in the nation with a grade of D- in the 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP) state-by-state report card on America’s emergency care environment (“Report Card”). The state received two F’s, two D-’s and one D in five categories.
“Arkansas policies have nowhere to go but up in support for emergency care and emergency patients,” said Dr. Darren Flamik, president of the Arkansas Chapter of ACEP. “Our state has serious medical workforce shortages and the lowest rate of physicians accepting Medicare. Reversing the lack of timely access to emergency care and poor overall health of our state should be top priorities for policymakers.”
Arkansas’ best grade, a 41st place ranking and a D for Quality and Patient Safety Environment, marks an improvement over its 2009 grade of F and 50th place ranking. The state is working on a stroke system of care and ranks fifth in the nation in the time it takes to transfer a chest pain patient to a designated facility. Arkansas could improve this grade by funding quality improvement in the state’s emergency medical services (EMS) system and funding a state EMS medical director.
In the category of Disaster Preparedness, Arkansas received a D-, despite having one of the highest per capita number of intensive care unit beds and a high bed surge capacity.
Arkansas declined significantly in the category of Medical Liability Environment, from a 12th place ranking and a grade of C+ in 2009 to a 37th place ranking and a grade of D-. The state lacks a medical liability cap on non-economic damages and additional liability protections for physicians who provide federally-mandated care in emergency departments.
Arkansas received F’s in both the categories of Access to Emergency Care and Public Health and Injury Prevention.
The state has serious workforce shortages, especially for emergency physicians, orthopedists and hand surgeons. These shortages plus the lowest per capita rate of physicians accepting Medicare seriously restrict Access to Emergency Care for Arkansans. To reduce workforce shortages, Arkansas should enact medical liability reforms that would allow the state to recruit and retain a more robust health care workforce.
Arkansas has high traffic fatalities, high smoking rates and very high rates of obesity, which is reflected in its 48th place ranking for Public Health and Injury Prevention.
“The state has serious workforce shortages, especially for emergency physicians, orthopedists and hand surgeons. These shortages plus the lowest per capita rate of physicians accepting Medicare seriously restrict Access to Emergency Care for Arkansans. To improve our state’s public health, Arkansas should educate the public and legislate on traffic safety,” said Dr. Flamik. “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 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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