State scores high in emergency preparedness

by Wally Northway

Published: December 16,2009

Tags: bioterrorism, emergency preparedness, healthcare, pandemic, public health

The seventh-annual “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism” report, released by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), found that the H1N1 flu outbreak has exposed serious underlying gaps in the nation’s ability to respond to public health emergencies and that the economic crisis is straining an already fragile public health system.

The report found that 20 states scored six or less out of 10 key indicators of public health emergency preparedness. Nearly two-thirds of states scored seven or less.

Mississippi scored second-highest in the nation with eight out of 10.

Overall, the report found that the investments made in pandemic and public health preparedness over the past several years dramatically improved U.S. readiness for the H1N1 outbreak. But it also found that decades of chronic underfunding meant that many core systems were not at-the-ready.

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