Prepared for health crisis? We mostly are

Report does fault state for flu plan

December 19, 2008
by Jonathan Riskind and Catherine Candisky
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio is more ready than most states to deal with a public-health crisis stemming from a bioterrorism attack, disease outbreak or natural disaster, a report released yesterday finds.

But in the years since Sept. 11, states' preparation for such crises has been affected by a national mood of complacency, the report states. And although Ohio gets a good grade overall, the state's public-health lab was not ready last year to handle the demands of a possible flu pandemic, according to the report released by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Ohio is one of 10 states to get a score of eight out of a possible 10 points on a scorecard of public-health preparedness indicators.

"The economic crisis could result in a serious rollback of the progress we've made since Sept. 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina to better prepare the nation for emergencies," said Jeff Levi, director of the Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-health advocacy organization. "The cuts to state budgets in the next few years could lead to a disaster for the nation's disaster preparedness."


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