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Arizona emergency rooms receive bad ranking

PHOENIX -- Arizona's emergency rooms did not test well on a report card from the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The state received an overall rank of D+ on the standard A through F grading system.

"Where we've fallen down and still struggle are two areas in particular: One is public health and injury prevention and the worst is access to emergency care," said Dr. Nicholas Vazquez, an emergency room physician at Banner Gateway Hospital.

Arizona received a D+ in public health and injury prevention and an F to access to emergency care.

But those weren't the state's only problems.

"We're bottom 10 in access to registered nurses and specialists such as ear, nose and throat specialists," said Vazquez. "We have a huge unmet need for substance abuse counseling and treatment as well as very small number of psychiatric care beds relative to the demand."

Vazquez said the problem is solvable, but would take a few different measures to correct.

"We need a lot more primary care providers," he said, adding that there is also a shortage of registered nurses.

The personnel issues could be solved at the state level, however.

"We'd like to see public policy approach," Vazquez said. "We'd like to see the Arizona people get behind solving this problem and ask our Legislature to improve funding for graduate medical education so we can get more people trained as nurses and specialists."

Arizona also saw a decline in its disaster preparedness grade. In 2009, the state was given an A- grade. This year, it received a C.

The only bright spot on the report card was a B received for quality and patient safety environment.

To read the full report card, click here.

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About the Author


Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.

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