Okla. Ranked 48th in Emergency Medicine; Liability Lawsuits, Lack of Insurance Part of Problem, Report Says

January 11, 2006

Oklahoma ranks 48th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in emergency medicine in a new report issued by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The state was given an overall grade of “D+” and the group called for an increase in health insurance for the uninsured, more disaster-response training and childhood immunization programs and for medical liability lawsuit reforms.

The state ranked 2nd in the nation for its number of emergency departments and 3rd for its number of trauma centers, which led to a grad of “C-” in the Access to Emergency Care category.

But the state was 41st in the nation in support of advance life support ambulance services, 41st in online medical direction and 36th in enhanced 911 services.

Oklahoma was 50th in the percentage of children immunized and 39th in contributions for children’s health insurance.

The grades are assigned by a task force appointed by ACEP last year and task force chair Dr. Angela Gardner called Oklahoma’s grades unacceptable.

“If Oklahoma gets a D+ on an average day, how can it ever be expected to provide expert, efficient care during a natural disaster or terrorist attack?” Gardner said.

“Our local, state and national leaders must work closely with emergency medicine experts to ensure that all Americans can receive the emergency medical care they need and expect.”

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