Health report: State lacking

Kansas in bottom quarter on flu preparedness, disease tracking

December 10, 2008
by James Carlson
The Topeka Capital-Journal

Budgetary constraints are contributing to the state's inadequate staffing in the face of a possible pandemic flu outbreak, said state officials in response to a new national report on public health released Tuesday.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment employs seven staff members capable of responding to a possible spread of the disease, less than is required to meet the state's expectations for its pandemic flu plan. It is one of only three states that didn't meet that criterion.

The report released Tuesday recognized budget problems as a national problem arising at an inconvenient time.

"The decline in state and local funding comes as states are asked to do more and more" to prepare for emergencies, said Jeff Levy, executive director of Trust for America's Health.

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