Louisiana Press Release


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

Media Contact:
Julie Lloyd, 202-370-9292 
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WASHINGTON — In the five categories that make up the 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP) state-by-state report card on America’s emergency care environment (“Report Card”). Louisiana received a B+, a C and three F’s, ranking the state in the bottom half of the country in four categories out of five.

“Louisiana’s ranked third in the nation for Disaster Preparedness, but we need to improve the rest of our grades,” said Dr. Laura Richey, president of the Louisiana Chapter of ACEP. “The lack of access to emergency care for our residents is harmful. The best medicine in the world won’t help you if you can’t get to it in a timely manner.”

Louisiana received a B+ in the category of Disaster Preparedness, which reflects having robust systems for preparing emergency workers, with just-in-time training systems available statewide and a well-above average rate of nurses who have received disaster training. The state even secured additional liability protections for health care workers during a disaster by passing Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act model legislation.

The state received a C in the category of Medical Liability Environment, which reflects both strengths and weaknesses in this category. Louisiana has enacted several reforms to protect its health care workforce, such as a medical liability cap on damages. However, the state could improve this grade by implementing additional liability protections for Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act-mandated care, which covers care delivered in the emergency department.

Louisiana received F’s in the categories of Access to Emergency Care, Quality and Patient Safety Environment and Public Health and Injury Prevention.

Louisianans lack access to emergency care because of very high rates of adults and children without health insurance and a desperate need for primary care and mental health care.

Louisiana’s failing grade for Quality and Patient Safety Environment ranked it near the bottom of the country, at 49th. The state does not fund quality improvement efforts within the emergency medical services (EMS) system, nor does it currently have heart attack or stroke systems of care. It could improve this grade by investing in a state EMS medical director and implementing systems of care for stroke and heart attack patients.

The Public Health and Injury Prevention grade reflects extremely high rates of pedestrian deaths, high rates of motor vehicle occupant deaths, high rates of smoking, high rates of obesity and high infant mortality rates. Louisiana could improve this grade through outreach and education aimed at reducing smoking and obesity, as well as measures to improve access to primary and preventive care.

“Louisiana must invest in improvements to the EMS system and increase access to emergency care,” said Dr. Richey. “Adequate health insurance for all of our residents would do a lot to increase their access to care, as would investment by the state in provider recruitment and retention to fill the gaps in primary care.”

“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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