Study Shows California 11th-Worst State in Hospital Preparedness

By Eric Althoff

SEATTLE—A study from the insurance company comparison website QuoteWizard of America’s hospital preparedness has uncovered a troubling statistic about the Golden State. California, the most populous state in the country, has only 1.82 hospital beds and 2.86 certified physicians per 1,000 people, ranking it as 11th-worst for hospital capacity in the entire country. The news comes at a difficult time, as physicians and medical practitioners continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 400,000 certified cases in the United States and 17,000 in California alone, according to CNN.

Auditors at QuoteWizard came up with their rankings by examining Kaiser Family Foundation data for each state’s bed capacity to handle the coronavirus pandemic. Based on their findings, West Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania ranked at the top in measures of preparedness, while Utah, Idaho and Nevada ranked at the bottom. Furthermore, their findings indicate that 23 states experienced a decline in hospital beds per 1,000 people from the period 2014 to 2018.

Social isolation is playing a promising part in the ongoing effort to “flatten the curve” of infections of covid-19, but access to adequate healthcare will be crucial for those who are already ill with the virus or require care for all other reasons that haven’t taken a break during the global pandemic. In addition to hospital bed capacity, the numbers of nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals to adequately address the outbreak continues to be of concern, especially as those workers not only care for patients but also take care of their own health as the virus spreads in the healthcare community.

Nationwide, there is now an average of 2.96 physicians and 2.4 hospital beds for 1,000 people.

QuoteWizard’s experts reported that to come up with their composite scores for each state, they measured hospital beds and physicians’ overall preparedness. The firm, based in Seattle, also has offices in Denver and Sacramento.