Massachusetts Ranks Second in Emergency Hospital Support Care

The American College of Emergency Physicians released the new rankings Thursday.

Emergency sign image via shutterstock

Emergency sign image via shutterstock

Between 1993 and 2003, the number of visits to emergency departments increased 26 percent (90.3 million to 113.9 million), yet during that same time period, the number of hospital emergency departments decreased by 14.1 percent, which resulted in dramatic increases in patient volumes and waiting times, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even worse, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) reports that the national “report card” grade for the emergency care support system operates at a D+. This is a worse than the C-  earned in 2009, the last time the rankings were published.

Massachusetts had the second highest scores behind the District of Columbia, but the Commonwealth actually dropped in its grade. In 2009, the state earned a B. In the new rankings, it’s a B-. Massachusetts did really well, the best in the nation, in fact, when it comes to public health and injury prevention:

Notably, Massachusetts has the lowest rate of homicide and suicide (11.2 per 100,000 people) in the nation and one of the lowest rates of fire- and burn-related deaths (0.5 per 100,000). The state has high rates of vaccinations for both children and older adults and low rates of chronic disease risk factors among adults, such as smoking (18.2%) and obesity (22.7%).

The state also scored high in the categories of “quality and patient safety” and “access to emergency care.” The areas where the ACEP found us to be lagging behind other states was in “medical liability environment” and “disaster preparedness.” Now, before everyone points out the effective and amazing response after the Marathon bombings, note that these rankings are based on the entire state. The ACEP based this low rating on the fact that the Commonwealth has the lowest bed surge capacities in the nation (248.6 beds for every 1 million people). Massachusetts also has a relatively low capacity of intensive care unit beds (248.4 per 1 million people).

For more information on the rankings and to see the step-by-step methodology, click here.