Texas Gets a "C" on E/R Report Card

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It appears Texas, along with 80 percent of the nation, isn't making the grade when it comes to delivering quality emergency care services. That's according to a new emergency room report card released by the American College of Emergency Physicians. Local health officials react.

" Emergency room over crowding is a big problem and has been for quite some time," said Rick Moore, Trauma Coordinator for the College Station Medical Center.

Moore says the study which gave Texas a "C" in emergency medical care is pretty accurate. The study measured 4 categories: access to emergency care, quality and patient safety, medical liability environment and public health and injury prevention.

Texas has the highest number of uninsured residents in the nation and health officials say that played a major factor in the state's low grade.

" Uninsured people tend to use the emergency room as their medical home and come in with more severe emergencies and illnesses because they don't get care ahead of time and that creates back log," said Tim Ottinger with St. Joseph Regional Health Center.

St. Joseph and the Med continue to look at ways to alleviate long waits in the emergency room.

" We've done a good job recruiting and keeping certified emergency room doctors on hand and providing care. We've also done a good job of going out into the community and talking about how you prevent emergencies, such as wearing your seatbelt, wearing a bicycle helmet.

" One of the improvements that we've made here at the Med is our new E/R group has implemented mid-level nurse practitioners and physician assistants to see some of the more minor complaints that come through the emergency room and that has helped quite a bit.

Both local hospitals agree, things will only get better, when more Americans have health insurance, but that's a solution no one has come up with.

California received the highest overall grade with a B plus. Arkansas received the lowest grade with a D. No states scored an A.