Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the nation in a report card on America's emergency care environment. Overall, the Keystone State gets a c-plus from the American College of Emergency Physicians(ACEP).
The doctors' group says Pennsylvania's made significant improvements in access to emergency care, but has declined in three out of five other categories since 2009. The number of emergency departments, as well as the number of staffed inpatient beds and psychiatric beds has declined.
Pennsylvania gets a C- for public health because of high infant death rates, unintentional poisoning deaths, and smoking. The state earned an F for Medical Liability Environment, in part because it lacks additional protections for lifesaving care mandated by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.
"The problems Pennsylvania has with liability protections for physicians who provide emergency care, as required by law, cast a dark cloud," said Dr. Charles Barbera, president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of ACEP. "We want Pennsylvania to continue to attract and retain the best and the brightest medical providers," he added.
The state's best grade, an A and third place ranking for quality and patient safety environment, is due to statewide systems and policies for heart attack, stroke and trauma patients.
Pennsylvania also supports the fourth highest rate of emergency medicine residents in the country and has below-average shortages of health care providers and rates of underinsurance.