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Significant Progress Made in Nation's Preparedness to Respond to Public Health Emergencies; But Gaps in Critical Areas Threaten Overall Readiness
Date:12/18/2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Trust for America's Health (TFAH) today released the fifth annual "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public's Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism" report, which found that while important progress has been made, critical areas of the nation's emergency health preparedness effort still require attention. In addition, the continuing trend of annual cuts in federal funding for state and local preparedness activities threatens the nation's safety.

The "Ready or Not?" report contains state-by-state health preparedness scores based on 10 key indicators to assess health emergency preparedness capabilities. All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) were evaluated. Thirty-five states and D.C. scored eight or higher on the scale of 10 indicators. Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia scored the highest with 10 out of 10. Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Wyoming scored the lowest with six out of 10.

"The improvements in state preparedness are encouraging, but the job of preparing the United States for major health emergencies is not nearly done," said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director of TFAH. "And, just when we are beginning to see a return on the federal investment in preparedness programs, the President and Congress have continued to cut these funds. These efforts may seem penny wise now, but could prove pound foolish later."

For the state-by-state scoring, states received one point for each indicator they achieved and zero points for each indicator they did not achieve, therefore zero is the lowest possible overall score and 10 the highest. Data for the public health indicators were collected from publicly available sources or public officials in 2007.

Among the key findings:

-- Thirteen states do not have adequate plans to distribute emergency vaccines, antidotes, and medical supplies from t
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SOURCE Trust for America's Health
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