New Hampshire Press Release


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

Media Contact:
Mike Baldyga, 202-370-9288 
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WASHINGTON — Citing a psychiatric care crisis that is affecting emergency care throughout the state, New Hampshire received an overall D+, ranking 28th in the nation, in the 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP) state-by-state report card on America’s emergency care environment (“Report Card”). 

“New Hampshire has long wait times in emergency departments and one of the worse medical liability environments in the nation,” said Dr. Beth Daniels, president of the New Hampshire Chapter of ACEP. “We must increase the hospital and mental health resources in our state and enact laws to improve traffic safety.”

The state received a D- in the category of Access to Emergency Care and ranks 30 th in the nation, dropping from a B- and 11th place in 2009. New Hampshire’s lack of mental health and psychiatric services contributed significantly to this poor grade. According to the Report Card, the state has a relatively high proportion of adults needing but not receiving substance abuse treatment.

New Hampshire also received a D- for its Medical Liability Environment because of a failure to enact case certification requirements or pass expert witness rules requiring witnesses to be of the same specialty as the defendant and licensed to practice medicine in the state.

New Hampshire has instituted many policies and practices that contribute to its overall Quality and Patient Safety Environment, including having triage and destination policies in place for certain patients, such as stroke victims. In that category, the state earned a B and is ranked 10th in the country.

The state dropped in the area of Public Health and Injury Prevention, receiving a D+. This grade was affected by New Hampshire’s failure to pass traffic safety laws. The state also lacks laws requiring helmets for motorcycle riders, requiring adults to wear seatbelts and prohibiting cell phone use while driving. New Hampshire has the third lowest rate of front occupancy seatbelt use in the nation.

The Report Card’s recommendations for improvement include:
  • Increase mental health resources and work with hospitals to increase the number of available psychiatric and staffed inpatient beds. 
  • Invest in community resources and programs for mental health care and substance abuse.
  • Develop a prescription drug-monitoring program.
  • Enact laws requiring helmet use for motorcycles and a universal seatbelt law (primary enforcement).
  • Enact medical liability reforms that include passing expert witness rules that require witnesses to be of the same medical specialty as the defendant and licensed to practice medicine in the state.
“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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