Nebraska’s emergency medical care got a slightly above-average grade of a “C-plus” on the first-ever National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine. The American College of Emergency Physicans ranked the states based on several key criteria. Dr. Sandra Schneider is the group’s vice president and an E-R doctor in Rochester, New York.
Dr. Schneider says despite the C-plus grade, Nebraska actually ranked 5th among the 50 states — showing how poorly the other states fared. Schneider says Nebraska did very well in several areas, including access to care, meaning the state has enough beds to take care of patients, and there’s a fair number of doctors in those areas.
Despite all of the advancements that have been made in homeland security since Nine Eleven, Schneider says Nebraska is still behind the times in several areas of emergency preparedness. “The state lacks a written plan for special needs patients in a disaster,” she says. “There’s not really a coordinated plan for what to do with patients who might need dialysis or people who are quadraplegic. There’s no real plan for handling chronic medications. There’s no patient and victim tracking system.”
Schneider notes Nebraska has relatively low rates of homicides, suicides and infant mortality. The state has an adequate number of primary care physicians and registered nurses, but she says there’s a shortage of E-R doctors, plastic surgeons, orthopedists, neurosurgeons and hand surgeons. She says Nebraska also has a high rate of binge drinking, which means more people drinking and driving and more crash victims that end up in E-Rs.
Overall, 90-percent of the states in the report card earned mediocre or near-failing grades. To see the full report on Nebraska or any other state, visit the American College of Emergency Physicians website.