Report Finds Budget Cuts Threaten Health Emergency Preparedness Progress

December 14, 2010
by Katherine Hobson
Wall Street Journal


The Trust for America’s Health is out with its annual assessment of health emergency preparedness — that is, how ready the public-health infrastructure is to handle a threat like a major disease outbreak, natural disaster or bioterrorism incident.

The news is pretty good, according to the nonprofit group, but there are clouds on the horizon in the form of big budget cuts at all levels of government.

TFAH’s report includes a report card looking at how each state rates according to ten indicators, including the presence of an electronic surveillance system to track symptoms that might suggest an emerging public health threat, and the necessary health department staffing to work five 12-hour days for six to eight weeks in response to an infectious outbreak. TFAH says 14 states met at least nine of the 10 indicators, three met all of them, and no state scored lower than a five. (Look here to see how your state did.)


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