Hawaii among states ready for health disasters

December 16, 2008
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii scored in the top half of states in a study of government health preparations to deal with natural or man-made disasters.

The study being released Tuesday by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation determined that Hawaii fulfilled eight of 10 categories of preparedness, as did nine other states.

Twelve states rated higher. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia scored lower.

The national recession "could result in a serious rollback of the progress we've made since September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina to better prepare the nation for emergencies," Jeff Levi, executive director of the trust, said in a statement.

"The 25 percent cut in federal support to protect Americans from diseases, disasters, and bioterrorism is already hurting state response capabilities," he added. "Cuts to state budgets in the next few years could lead to a disaster for the nation's disaster preparedness."

For the last six years, the trust has reviewed state preparedness plans and released its annual "Ready or Not?" report. The trust is a nonprofit group that works on disease prevention issues. The mission of the Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization, is to improve health care for all Americans.

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