Physicians group says Pa. emergency care improves

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – A physicians group said in a report issued Thursday that Pennsylvania has made significant improvements in access to emergency care, but that some related areas still need work.


The American College of Emergency Physicians report found that Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the nation for overall policies that support emergency patients. The state was ranked eighth in the 2009 report.


The group said the state has significantly improved access to emergency care, and now ranks second nationally in that category. The state is also ranked third for quality and patient safety, too.


But the report also noted that decreases in the number of emergency departments, staffed inpatient beds and psychiatric care beds has led to crowding that isn’t good for patients.


“On average, across the state of Pennsylvania, there’s a lot of good news,” said Dr. Alex Rosenau, the president of the group and a physician at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown. Rosenau also noted that Pennsylvania was ranked 38th nationally in terms of medical liability laws.


Rosenau said that while the new federal Affordable Care Act is supposed to prove more people with medical coverage, the group forecasts an expanding role for emergency departments.


Pennsylvania’s disaster preparedness ranking also dropped significantly, from fourth place in 2009 to 17th place now. The state suffered heavy declines in intensive care unit beds and burn unit beds.


The top-ranked states in the report were the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maine, Nebraska, and Colorado.


The states at the bottom were Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, and Kentucky.


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