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Report: State's emergency care ranks highest in Southeast

JACKSON — Mississippi’s emergency care environment outranked all other Southeastern states and placed 26th out of 51 overall, according to a report from the American College of Emergency Physicians.

In the report, the state received an overall “C minus,” a score based on 136 measures in five categories, including access to emergency care, disaster preparedness and medical liability environment.

The ACEP report, issued in the February volume of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, ranked Alabama 44th, with a grade of “D;” Arkansas 50th, with a “D minus; Florida 27th, with a “C minus;” Georgia 29th, with a “D plus;” Louisiana 42nd, with a “D;” and South Carolina 33rd, with a “D plus.”

The District of Columbia ranked first and Massachusetts ranked second, each receiving a “B minus.” No state received an “A.”

Mississippi’s rank improved from 34th to 26th overall since 2009, the last time ACEP conducted its state-by-state report card.

In the assessment, ACEP researchers analyzed 136 objective measures in five categories of access to emergency care, quality and patient-safety environment, medical liability environment, public health and injury protection, and disaster preparedness.

The report’s authors highlighted the capacity of Mississippi’s hospitals, which added to the state’s access-to-care score. They praised the emergency communications capabilities and existing plans. And noted the liability environment was favorable, with average malpractice payments being the sixth lowest nationally, and that liability insurance premiums are below the national average.

However, the state faces challenges in public health and injury prevention due in part to its high rate of fatal injuries, smoking and obesity, the authors found.

“Most critically,” the authors wrote, “traffic safety in Mississippi is a major concern. The state has the second-highest rate of motor vehicle occupant deaths, the highest rate of bicyclist deaths and one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths.”

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