Florida amongst the worst in nation in health emergency capabilities according to report

June 10, 2009
by Robert Herriman

This comes from the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) report: Ready or Not? Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism.

The report contains state-by-state health preparedness scores based on 10 key indicators to assess health emergency preparedness capabilities.

Florida met 5 out of a possible 10 indicators and was tied with Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Montana, and Nebraska for the lowest score.

The five indicators that our state met were:

1. Has adequate plans to distribute emergency vaccines, antidotes, and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile
2. State public health lab can meet the expectations of the state's pandemic influenza plan
3. Uses a disease surveillance system that is compatible with CDC's National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS).
4. State has a Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Coordinator
5. Increased or maintained funding for public health programs from FY 2006-07 to FY 2007-08

"The 25 percent cut in federal support to protect Americans from diseases, disasters, and bioterrorism is already hurting state response capabilities. The cuts to state budgets in the next few years could lead to a disaster for the nation's disaster preparedness", says Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH.

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