Montana Ranks Near Bottom for Emergency Care - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Montana Ranks Near Bottom for Emergency Care

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A new study says that Montana ranks near the bottom for emergency care, and the group says the national grade is a "D+".

According to a study, each state was graded on 5 different areas: access to care, quality and patient safety, public health, medical liability, and disaster preparedness.

But, some Billings health care leaders have questions about the study.

A new report by the American College of Emergency Physicians shows that the nation is failing to support its hospitals and emergency patients across the country.

Billings Clinic Emergency Physician, Randy Thompson said, "Initially, I was a little disappointed in our grade, you know we got a D, and I thought it just doesn't jive with how we feel that we take care of our patients."

Dr. Thompson said part of the reason Montana scored so low is geography because only 40% of the states population lives within an hour of a trauma center.

"But, if they need any specialty care I mean almost all of the smaller communities do not have access to the specialties," said Dr. Thompson.

St. Vincent Healthcare, Medical Director for the Emergency Department, Dr. Jim Bentler said it wasn't just Montana that scored low it was the entire nation.

"So, you really... it's really hard to compare a state like Montana to California, or New York where you know it's much more densely populated areas," said Dr. Bentler

But, even though this study scored the state pretty low, we increased in a letter grade in Public Health and Injury Prevention.

"The amount of money Montana puts into injury prevention per person, per capita is higher than many other states. That was one of the positives in that category," said Dr. Bentler.

Dr. Bentler also said that Montana's walk-in and out treatment is around 130 minutes, and is still lower than the national average of 272 minutes.