Are we in Florida doing everything we can to address emergency-care issues? Not according to the state-by-state report card on America’s Emergency Care Environment just released by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). It gave Florida a C- and ranked the state 27th overall.
Florida received an F for access to care and a D+ in public health and injury prevention, in part because of a lack of safe-driving laws that results in the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the country and a rate of bicyclist fatalities that is more than twice the national average. The state earned a C for medical-liability environment, which is because of the lack of insurers offering liability coverage and the lack of pretrial screening panels.
We need to recruit, train and retain all kinds of health professionals, especially those who work in our ERs. One way to do that would be to improve our medical-liability environment by encouraging additional insurers to write liability policies and implement pretrial screening panels.
Florida’s Department of Health Workforce study 2013 shows that two-thirds of the practicing physicians are 50 or older with more than 20 percent planning to retire in five years in 16 of the 67 counties. If we do not act with urgency, we may find that there will be no one to take care of our families in the next five years.
Andrew I. Bern, national spokesperson, 2014 ACEP Report Card, Coral Springs