South Carolina dropped seven spots and slipped from a C to a D-plus grade in the 2014 report card on America’s emergency care environment by the American College of Emergency Physicians.
The drop from 26th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia to 33rd was blamed on increasing rates of uninsured and underinsured, a shortage of health care professionals and high fatality rates for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
The ACEP is a tough grader. It gave one F (Wyoming), 23 Ds, 23 Cs and four Bs (Nebraska, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.). No state earned an A.
Some of the statistics used might not reflect current conditions. South Carolina was graded down because its rate of uninsured children rose from 10.7 percent to 13.3 percent. But in the recent America’s Health Ranking, United Health Foundation improved South Carolina’s grade in part because the state has added 103,000 children to its Medicaid rolls.
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Here are South Carolina’s plusses and minuses from the ACEP report:
• Plus: For having a medical liability cap on non-economic damages. The average malpractice award was $176,366, 10th lowest in the nation.
• Plus: For funding a state emergency services medical director.
• Plus: For increasing the percentage of acute myocardial infarction cases given percutaneous coronary intervention within 90 minutes from 55 to 97 percent.
• Minus: For ranking near the bottom in rates of traffic fatalities (15.2 per 100,000 people), cycling fatalities (13.5 per 100,000 cyclists) and pedestrian fatalities (11.7 per 100,000 pedestrians).
• Minus: For not passing state-wide antismoking legislation.
• Minus: For some of the highest obesity rates (30.8 percent of adults) in the country.
• Minus: For ranking 48th in uninsurance rate.
• Minus: For low rates of burn unit beds (2.1 per 1 million people).
• Minus: For shortage of emergency physicians, neurosurgeons and registered nurses.