American College of Emergency Physicians has issued a report ranking Maryland #4 in the US for emergency care. While the state was awarded points for injury prevention and disaster preparedness, as well as an A for quality and providing a safe environment for patients and a B for injury prevention and public health, Maryland received a D – for its medical liability environment and a C- for emergency care access. The state’s average grade for medical emergency services was a B -, the same grade it received in 2006.
Grades were calculated based on data provided by each state. Washington DC, which also received a B-, was ranked second. Overall, the US received a C-. 90% of US states received failing or mediocre grades.
In Maryland, the ACEP found that crowded hospitals, coupled with not enough inpatient beds, was a problem. Also, there are not enough medical specialists in the state who can offer on-call emergency care. The report also found that Maryland did not enact adequate medical liability reform and that liability premiums and average malpractice damage amounts are above average.
The ACEP lauded Maryland for its emergency preparedness and its outreach to special needs groups. Another report by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gave Maryland a 5 out of 10 for its emergency preparedness during a disaster. Their report found that Maryland had failed to limit the liability of emergency health workers or maintain funding.
US Emergency Rooms
According to a recent USA Today article, not enough specialists, long waits, and overcrowding are some of the problems affecting emergency rooms in the United States. Recent emergency room facts:
– 56 minutes is the average wait time.
– There were 119 million hospital visits in 2006.
– 1 out of 5 Americans visited an emergency room in 2005.
US states, as well as medical facilities, hospitals, ER’s, doctors, nurses, medical specialists, and other providers of emergency care are supposed to provide the proper care to all patients. When failure to provide that care results in injuries or deaths, the responsible parties can be held liable for medical malpractice, personal injury, or wrongful death.
Md. Emergency Care Ranks Fourth in National Study, Southern Maryland Online, December 9, 2008
U.S. emergency rooms find ways to fix what ails them, USA Today, December 14, 2008
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