Americans are aging, and more and more of us are being forced to go without health insurance. That means the burden on hospital emergency room care is increasing. Some states do better than others in providing this ER care.
The American College of Emergency Physicians has done a study of ER care and given each state a grade. you can find your state’s grade by clicking on this map.
I was very surprised to see that Texas has a grade of “C” in this study, because emergency room care in Texas is a cruel joke to the poor people who are forced to seek such care. Then I read the Texas report, and learned the reason Texas was graded so highly. The ER care joke is even more cruel than I thought. Texas received extra points because we have the most restrictive medical malpractice law in the country! Excerpts from the report:
Texas Compared with the Nation: Texas ranked 21st in the nation with an overall C grade for its support of an emergency care system to meet the needs of its residents. Its score was helped by an outstanding grade for its Medical Liability Environment. No state performed better in that important category than the Lone Star State. But Texas’ overall grade was hurt by a poor performance in Access to Emergency Care.
Problems: Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation. Considering uninsured patients often wait until they are very sick before turning to emergency departments for care, the state’s hospitals provide a great deal of uncompensated medical services, yet the state’s spending on hospital care ranks near the bottom in the nation (41st). The lack of funding further reduces resources for already overcrowded emergency departments. This is evident in the state’s shortage of board-certified emergency physicians (44th) and registered nurses (48th) available to meet the needs of its residents.
Texas also fell below average in the categories of Quality and Patient Safety and Public Health and Injury Prevention. The state fell short in its percentage of population with access to advanced life support ambulance services (47th) and its percentage of pre-hospital personnel with access to online medical direction (42nd). Texas also ranked in the bottom 10 in immunization of children and seniors.
Good News: Texas is the paragon for medical liability reform due to its $250,000 cap on non-economic damages. In addition, state lawmakers have adopted helpful measures such as liability protection in emergency care and joint liability reform.