Most States Are Totally Unprepared To Tackle A Future Public Health Emergency

December 18, 2013
by Tara Culp-Ressler

Most states get a failing grade on their current systems in place to safeguard public health, according to a new report from the nonprofit groups Trust for America’s Health and theRobert Woods Johnson Foundation. The report’s authors warn that officials must do more to strengthen their emergency preparedness plans, particularly because some looming threats — like contagious outbreaks, weather disasters, and potential bio-terrorism attacks — threaten to put Americans at risk.

The groups assessed states on 10 indicators of public health capacity — including vaccination rates, climate change adaption plans, effective reporting procedures to track infectious outbreaks, lab capacity, and funding and staffing levels. Just 16 states and the District of Columbia scored at least 60 percent. Another 15 states scored 50 percent, and the rest did worse.

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