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Doctors Give US Emergency Care A Failing Grade

Dec 11, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP
Doctors on Surgery

No State Received An A Ranking

The country has received an overall failing grade for its emergency care service according to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Associated Press (AP) is reporting.  Overall, the system received a D-, said the AP.

According to the AP, no state received an A ranking.  The AP cited a glut of patients as adding to the problem, combined with a lack of resources.  Also, said the AP, many patients without health insurance will turn to emergency rooms to receive care, which is increasing emergency care demand at a time when some hospitals are closing emergency rooms due to rising costs and shrinking staffs. The emergency care system in the United States remains in serious condition, with numerous states facing critical problems … the nation has too few emergency departments to meet the needs of a growing and aging population,” the AP quoted from the report.

The AP described America’s emergency room system as a “ticking time bomb,” citing a dearth of physicians and nurses and adding that the report said the ER system was, “fraught with significant challenges and under more stress than ever before.”

A report on WKOWTV.com also noted that the report stated that, “our country's emergency care system is below average and is being made worse by the U.S. financial crisis.”  The report stated that over 300,000 Americans go to ERs for care daily and that 90 percent of the states earned poor rankings receiving mediocre ratings or earning near-failing marks, said WKOWTV.

Nicholas Jouriles “That is a national disgrace.” 

According to WKOWTV, the report graded the states individually and the nation overall in categories that included emergency care and patient safety and found that there are very significant lapses in a wide array of ranking areas.  Half of the states and Washington, D.C. earned seven and less out of 10 key indicators.  Only five states receiving a score of 10.  The five report card categories  were: Access to Emergency Care (30 percent), Quality and Patient Safety Environment (20 percent), Medical Liability Environment (20 percent), Public Health and Injury Prevention (15 percent), and Disaster Preparedness (15 percent).  

“That is a national disgrace,” the organization’s president, Nicholas Jouriles, an emergency physician in Moreland Hills, Ohio, told the AP. “The nation’s emergency physicians have diagnosed the condition and prescribed the treatment. It’s time to get serious and take the medicine,” he warned.

Meanwhile, on the same day as this bleak report was issued, the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a separate study stating that the U.S was “underprepared for a major disaster, such as a biological attack or a pandemic,” said the AP.

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