BOSTON (CBS) — A report card on emergency medical care nationwide ranks Massachusetts second in the country.

Massachusetts received a “B-” by the American College of Emergency Physicians on a state-by-state report card.  The country received a “D+” as a whole, down from a “C-” in 2009.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Diane Stern reports

According to the evaluation, the state provides safe and effective quality care but falls short when it comes to medical liabilities and has not improved its disaster preparedness.

“The people of Massachusetts understand better than most that emergencies can happen anywhere at any time, especially following the Boston Marathon bombings and the well-organized medical response to the victims,” said Dr. Nathan MacDonald, president of the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians. “Given the uncertainties of health care reform, emergency care has never been more important than it is right now.”

Dr. David Epstein of Brigham and Women’s Hospital says the state should take the report card seriously.

“If you actually look at the indicators, our grades have actually slipped a little bit,” Epstein told WBZ NewsRadio 1030, referring to earlier report cards. “The amount of beds we can increase by in a heart beat is actually fairly low and that’s because our hospitals are fairly crowded.”

Epstein said while Boston hospitals were able to quickly adapt in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, the state as a whole needs to have a plan in place for larger-scale events.

“While we were able to do that in Boston for a relatively small event, can you imagine what would have happened if there were thousands upon thousands of casualties? We don’t have the capability to handle that and that’s what this report is pointing out,” Epstein said. “For Massachusetts, we need to increase the infrastructure we have in order to maintain our pace with the rest of the nation in disaster preparedness.”


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