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Report: Arkansas gets D- in emergency care environment

By Christina Huynh

This article was published January 16, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.

Arkansas has ranked next to last among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., for its overall lack of support for emergency care, according to a medical officials' report released Thursday.

The state moved up one spot — from 51st in 2009 to 50th with a score of "D-minus" — in a report by American College of Emergency Physicians, a national medical organization founded in 1968 and composed of 32,000 physicians who practice emergency medicine.

Meanwhile, the overall emergency care environment across the nation received a near-failing grade of D-plus, lower than the C-minus grade earned in 2009, the report states.

Arkansas received two F's, two D minuses and one D in five categories, the report states. They include access to emergency care through providers, affordability, treatment centers and hospital capacity; investments to state and private systems that support emergency care; the legal atmosphere for physicians, such as high liability insurance rates that cause physicians to "stop performing high-risk but critically necessary procedures"; prevention efforts in public health and injuries; and financial resources and number of personnel for a disaster response.

"Arkansas policies have nowhere to go but up in support for emergency care and emergency patients," said Darren Flamik, the president of the organization's Arkansas chapter.

The state's best mark, a 41st rank with a D in quality and patient safety environment, is an improvement over its F and 50th place ranking in 2009, according to the report. This score could improve by increasing funding in Arkansas' emergency medical services system and funding a state emergency medical services director, the organization said in a statement.

However, in the medical-liability environment category, the state dropped 25 spots since 2009, with a 37th place ranking compared with a 12th-place rank five years ago. The state lacks a liability cap on "non-economic" damages and needs more protection for physicians who provide government health care in emergency departments, according to the report.

The report states that Arkansas has "notable workforce shortages" for emergency physicians, orthopedists and hand surgeons, as well as a low rate of physicians (1.7 out of every 100) accepting Medicare. The state also has high fatality rates for drivers and passengers, bicyclist and pedestrians, according to the report.


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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 total comments

Dontcallmenames says... January 16, 2014 at 4:55 p.m.

Ah yes, more funding. That's always the problem, isn't it? "We just need more money!" I'll bet getting rid of government and fear of lawyers ("high liability insurance rates") would do wonders...

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yuiop says... January 17, 2014 at 12:03 a.m.

If the Koch brothers could only gift a need like this rather than 'big' politics...

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TheBatt says... January 17, 2014 at 11:52 a.m.

But I thought the $millions poured in from the "tobacco settlement" were going to fix our emergency rooms.... or so we were told.

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Packman says... January 17, 2014 at 12:25 p.m.

Isn't one of the goals of Obamacare to stop ER visits and thereby consolidate emergency facilities making FEWER available rather than more? Wake up, people. Obamacare will lead to more deaths and worse health care across America. Maybe, that's what the libs hoped for all along. I mean they do support abortion on demand, killing 3,500 unborn people each year so why would it surprise anyone the party of death (democrat) wants more death?

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HotSpringsLawyer says... January 17, 2014 at 12:35 p.m.

Turning down federal funds will probably cure all the healthcare problems. And will confirm the educational deficiencies of the State at the same time.

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flipflop says... January 18, 2014 at 6:31 a.m.

This is where all the illegal Mexicans that El Beebe says are "good" for the economy seek care, and the get it-on our Medicaid dollars, these are the things that need changing

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