December 21, 2017
If you live in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, you’ll be relieved to know your state is well prepared to handle a public health crisis, according to a new report from Trust for America’s Health. The rest of us need to worry (and perhaps invest in biohazard suits for the entire family).
The report, titled “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism,” rated states on a scale of 1 to 10 on 10 key indicators of public health preparedness. Alarmingly, 25 states scored a 5 or lower. No states received a 10. Alaska received the lowest score with a 2, while Massachusetts and Rhode Island both received a score of 9.
“While we’ve seen great public health preparedness advances, often at the state and community level, progress is continually stilted, halted and uneven,” said John Auerbach, president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). “As a nation, we—year after year—fail to fully support public health and preparedness. If we don’t improve our baseline funding and capabilities, we’ll continue to be caught completely off-guard when hurricanes, wildfires and infectious disease outbreaks hit.”
Federal funding to support the base level of preparedness has been cut by more than half since 2002, from $940 million to $667 million, according to TFAH. The organization contends that the country does not invest enough to maintain strong, basic core capabilities for health security readiness. Moreover, it believes the cuts have forced the nation into “a continued state of inefficiently reacting with federal emergency supplemental funding packages, each time a disaster strikes.”
For questions, comments or concerns, please contact Jennifer Duell Popovec