Maine Press Release
Embargoed For Release at 11 am (ET)
January 16, 2014
Mike Baldyga, 202-370-9288
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MAINE RANKS 3RD IN THE NATION FOR POLICIES THAT SUPPORT EMERGENCY PATIENTS,
BUT FAILS IN DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
WASHINGTON — Maine had the third strongest overall emergency care environment in the nation with a B- in the 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP) state-by-state report card on America’s emergency care environment (“Report Card”). Contributing to this strong grade are dedicated funding for quality improvements in the state’s emergency medical services system and low rates of health risk factors and fatal injuries.
“Maine has a strong commitment to public health and injury prevention, and compared with other states, we have fewer uninsured patients,” said Dr. Michael Baumann, president of the Maine Chapter of ACEP. “But the state has implemented very few elements of disaster preparedness planning at the state level. We need to make progress in this area.”
Maine received a failing grade in the area of Disaster Preparedness, ranking 49th in the nation. According to the Report Card, Maine does not have an Emergency Support Function 8 (ESF-8) plan in place and only conducts planning for hospital surge at a regional level. The lack of state planning could be problematic in the event of a large disaster or mass casualty event.
According to the Report Card, Maryland made progress in the category of Medical Liability Environment, although there is room to improve its C grade. The state has relatively low average medical liability insurance premiums for primary care physicians and specialists.
Maine has dedicated funding for quality improvements within its emergency medical services (EMS) system, as well as an EMS medical director. Access to Emergency Care fares well overall, but emergency physicians in the state report that there are often long waits for psychiatric care beds, especially for children. Some waits in the emergency department are reported to last 8 days.
The Report Card recommendations for improvements include:
- Institute state-level policies and procedures for disaster preparedness.
- Support current regionalized efforts to improve communication and provide appropriate care in the event of a mass casualty incident.
- Strengthen current medical liability laws by enacting protections for care mandated by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Instituting liability protections in these cases may attract additional specialists who provide critical on-call services to the emergency department.
“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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