Louisiana gets a “C” when it comes to how hospitals care for the sickest patients, according to the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

As a whole, the United States got a “B,” according to America’s Care of Serious Illness: A State-by-State Report Card on Access to Palliative Care in Our Nation’s Hospitals. The report card was first released in 2008, when the nation’s grade was a “C.”

“The good news is that over the last ten years hospital palliative care teams have more than doubled,” Dr. Diane E. Meier, director of the Center and co-author of the study, said in a news release. “The bad news is that despite its enormous benefits to patients and care givers, millions of seriously ill Americans still do not have access. Given the will of Congress to assure patients receive high quality care while reducing costs, it seems that palliative care should be a natural part of that prescription.”

Palliative care is a medical specialty that tries to make the seriously and chronically ill more comfortable. Treatments focus on alleviating pain, among other symptoms, and focusing on patients’ quality of life.

In East Baton Rouge Parish, only Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center provides palliative care, according to the report. Statewide, one-third of hospitals do. Nationally, 38.7 percent of hospitals provide palliative care.