Friday, December 12, 2008

State-by-State Report on the Status of Emergency Medicine

As a nice complement to the "Ready or Not?" report released earlier this week, the American College of Emergency Physicians has published its annual "National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine," which examines emergency medicine on a state-by-state basis and concludes that:

The emergency care system in the United States remains in serious condition, with numerous states facing critical problems. That is the disturbing but unmistakable finding of the 2009 edition of "The National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine," a report designed to provide the American public with an objective assessment of the emergency care environment across the country.
Which is, of course, not a surprise. For years, hospital managers have applied "just-in-time" principles to their operations, in an attempt to hold down spiraling costs. They've trimmed as much fat as possible, leaving hospitals with little surge capacity.

Granted, we are stockpiling vaccines and other medications, which will help in the event of the inevitable health care crisis. (I'm less sanguine about our ability to deliver them in a timely, organized, effective manner; but that's another story.) Unless we re-build some excess capacity in our health care system, other necessities such as bed space, health care staff, respirators, etc., are simply not going to be there.

We pays our money, we takes our chances...

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