Missouri Gets C- On Emergency Physicians’ Report Card

A sign points toward the emergency room at the Boone Health Center. | Photo by Nicole Lunger
Photo by Nicole Lunger

While Missouri received a C- for overall emergency services, the nation fared worse with a D+, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians’ state-by-state report card released Thursday. The overall grades take into consideration access to emergency care, quality/patient safety, medical liability, public health/injury prevention and disaster preparedness.

Even though Missouri did better than the national average overall, it still received a failing grade in medical liability environment as well as public health/injury prevention.

Missouri has one of the lowest rates of funding for injury prevention, the release said. It equals out to $13.36 per 1,000 people and has a higher than average number of preventable deaths, which include homicides, suicides and traffic fatalities.

“Missouri ranked sixth in the nation for access to emergency care, which is great,” Dr. Larry Slaughter, president of the Missouri Chapter of ACEP, said in a release. “But clearly there are areas that we need to improve in order to protect emergency patients, especially as health care reforms are implemented.”

 Missouri did a little better in quality/patient safety and access to emergency care, earning a grade of a C+.

However, there were recommendations to improve Missouri’s health, including implementing protections that are mandated by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act as well as add programs to discourage risky behaviors. It also recommended passing smoke-free legislation for restaurants and other places, as well as having stronger enforcement of child safety belt and seatbelt laws.

Its last recommendation was addressing financial barriers to care and the shortages of primary care providers.

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