Michigan Ranks Near Bottom of the Nation for its Lack of Support for Emergency Patients - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Michigan Ranks Near Bottom of the Nation for its Lack of Support for Emergency Patients

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SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

What are my state's grades? Find them at www.emreportcard.org

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Michigan received an overall grade of D, ranking 46th in the nation, in the 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians' state-by-state report card on America's emergency care environment ("Report Card"). The state showed improvements in the category of Quality and Patient Safety, but received a failing grade in the category of Access to Emergency Care for issues including severe shortages of on-call specialists to care for emergency patients.

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"Michigan has worked to improve our quality and patient safety environment, but a large number of patients in our state are delaying medical care or not getting the care they need because of financial barriers and limited access to on-call specialists," said Dr. Michael Baker, president of the Michigan College of Emergency Physicians. "Michigan's Medicaid fee levels for office visits are among the lowest in the nation. The state must work to improve access to care by reducing these financial barriers and increasing the capacity of hospitals. Legislation is needed to improve access to on-call specialists by reducing medico-legal barriers and protecting access to care for emergency patients throughout the state."

Although the state has high per capita rates of emergency physicians, it has below average rates of specialists, such as orthopedists and hand surgeons; plastic surgeons; and ear, nose, and throat specialists. In addition, Michigan lacks an adequate supply of psychiatric beds.

The state's weak Medical Liability Environment and issues with adequate hospital capacity continue to hamper progress in improving the overall emergency care environment.

The state received a D+ in the area of Public Health and Injury Prevention, for falling below average in many areas. Michigan ranked among the worst in the nation for adult obesity (31 percent) and a relatively high proportion of adults currently smoke (23 percent). The state also has one of the lowest rates of pneumonia vaccinations among older adults and the proportion of older adults who receive the annual influenza vaccination has decreased significantly.

The Report Card recommendations include:

  • Increase the number of medical specialists in the state by enacting medical liability reforms that include protections for medical care mandated by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.
  • Reduce financial barriers to care and increase Michigan's capacity to care for high-risk patients.
  • Reinstate an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, and until the law is passed, take steps to ensure that helmetless motorcyclists have adequate insurance to cover treatment of significant injuries.
  • Promote immunization, especially among older adults.

"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.

Follow ACEP on Twitter @emergencydocs

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