Iowa’s hospital emergency rooms rank just short of the top ten nationwide, according to a new study which finds support for hospitals and emergency room patients is ailing. Dr. Jon Mark Hirshon, spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians, says the report gave the country’s E-Rs a grade of D-plus overall, and Iowa was just a little better. “Iowa actually did relatively well, they got a C overall and they were 11th in the nation,” Dr. Hirshon says. “They’re about average or a little above average.”
While the state has moved up in the rankings to 11th from 19th in the last study, conducted in 2009, Hirshon says Iowa has actually seen declines in a few key categories. “They did best in public health and injury prevention and in access to emergency care,” Hirshon says. “But having said that, there are significant medical workforce shortages that threaten people’s access to emergency care in Iowa. This has declined quite a lot since 2009.”
Overall, he says the quality of care in emergency rooms nationwide is deteriorating and while Iowa is rising in the rankings, he says state’s performance in some categories is still very poor. Hirshon says, “They’ve got the lowest per capita rate of emergency physicians, and near last for having specialists such as neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, orthopedists, hand surgeons and they’ve had a declining Medicaid C level since 2007.” He says Iowa’s rankings on the study should be red flags to residents.
“This really looks to be an alarming issue related to workforce and the ability to access physicians when you need them,” he says. The study ranked E-Rs in Washington D-C tops, followed by Massachusetts and Maine. The bottom-ranked states are: New Mexico, Arkansas and last, Wyoming. See the full report at www.emreportcard.org.