New Mexico Press Release


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

Media Contact:
Mike Baldyga, 202-370-9288 
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WASHINGTON — New Mexico ranked 49th in the nation with a 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 faces health care workforce shortages and a medical liability environment that serves as a barrier to recruiting and retaining health care professionals. 

“New Mexico policymakers need to take a hard look at these grades and make emergency patients a priority,” said Dr. Tony Salazar, president of the New Mexico Chapter of ACEP. “We have the second worst ranking in the nation when it comes to people’s access to emergency care. Emergency patients have very long wait times, and the state has experienced a significant decrease in psychiatric beds.”

The state ranks 47th for the proportion of adults with an unmet need for substance abuse treatment and next to last for the number of psychiatric beds available (6 per 100,000 people). This represents a 72-percent decrease in available psychiatric care beds from 2009.

The state’s grade worsened to a D- in the category of Medical Liability Environment. According to the Report Card, New Mexico has failed to enacted liability reforms, and number of malpractice awards payments per capita is increasing. In addition, the state has seen a dramatic increase in National Practitioner Databank Reports, which is one of the indicators of an increasingly litigious environment.

New Mexico received a D+ in the area of Public Health and Injury Prevention. The state has some of the highest rates of fatal injuries in the nation and the second highest rate of homicides and suicides combined. New Mexico also has the third highest rate of poisoning-related deaths, which include overdoses. New Mexico is also one of the worst states in the country for pedestrian and traffic fatalities.

The state also received a D in the category of Disaster Preparedness and a D+ in Quality and Patient Safety Environment.
The state improved slightly in the category of Disaster Preparedness because it has implemented a statewide patient tracking system and is one of six states that require training for essential hospital personnel in disaster management and response.

The Report Card’s recommendation for improvement included:
  • Increase the number of emergency departments, staffed inpatient beds and psychiatric beds. 
  • Improve access to substance abuse treatment.
  • Enact medical liability reforms to attract and retain physicians. These could include apology inadmissibility laws, expert witness rules, collateral source rule reform and protections for medical providers who provide Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) related care.
  • Promote implementation of electronic medical records among hospitals.
  • Support additional emergency medicine residents 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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