The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recently released its 2014 state-by-state report card on America’s emergency care environment (http://www.emreportcard.org/).
Illinois received an overall “D,” dropping from 27th to 45th in the nation. Illinois scored a “C” in 2009 for its emergency care services.
By comparison, the nation as a whole received a near-failing grade of D+, down from an overall grade of C- on the report card issued in 2009.
According to ACEP, there are several reasons cited for Illinois’ big drop:
- Disaster Preparedness. Illinois dropped from 8th place to 43rd for Disaster Preparedness, because it did not keep pace with other states and because legislation proposed to enhance immunity for health care responders during a disaster failed in the state legislature.
- Medical Liability Environment. Without meaningful medical liability reform, Illinois runs the risk of losing its most qualified doctors and medical professionals to states where there is more protection against frivolous lawsuits.
- Medicaid reimbursement rates, which are currently one of the lowest in the country for office visits.
- Illinois’ D+ for Public Health & Injury Prevention reflects the state’s low rates of immunizations among other things. Policymakers must commit to educating and combating causes of chronic disease and illness, and increasing access to preventive care.
Dr. John Hafner, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, is Secretary/ Treasurer for the Illinois College of Emergency Physicians (ICEP).
“It is disappointing for me to see this ranking when some things are out of our control as physicians such as a lack of legislative support and addressing the dwindling number of primary care physicians, something that will become even more important due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
“What’s encouraging to me is that I know these rankings do not accurately reflect the care we provide at OSF Saint Francis,” Dr. Hafner added. “It is the Sisters’ Mission to care for all; we do not turn anyone away. Emergency departments across the U.S. are strained at various times such as during flu season. We had nearly 90,000 emergency room visits last year and work closely with community partners to identify community health needs and how best to meet those needs. In addition, OSF Saint Francis is home to the emergency response/disaster preparedness team for the region and is constantly working to train our staff and other first responders.”