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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

he Strategic National Stockpile.

-- Twenty-one states do not have statutes that allow for adequate liability protection for healthcare volunteers during emergencies.

-- Twelve states do not have a disease surveillance system compatible with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Electronic Disease Surveillance System.

-- Seven states have not purchased any portion of their federally-subsidized or unsubsidized antivirals to use during a pandemic flu.

-- Seven states and D.C. lack sufficient capabilities to test for biological threats.

"There is little doubt that emergency health preparedness is on the national radar," Levi added. "But until all states are equally well prepared, our country is not as safe as it can and should be."

The report highlights two areas of particular concern with regard to state-level preparedness:

-- Twenty-one states do not provide sufficient legal protection from liability for healthcare volunteers who respond to a call for assistance in an emergency. Lack of such protections has been identified as a key impediment to recruiting sufficient volunteers to respond to a major health emergency. TFAH recommends that states adopt the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act (UEVHPA), which has been approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

-- Seven states have made no purchases toward their share of the stockpile of antivirals for pandemic influenza. States have been asked to purchase 31 million treatment courses of the 81 million course stockpile target set by the federal government. Containment of a pandemic must be a national priority. Any differences in capacity on a state-by-state basis place the entire nation at risk.

The report also evaluates federal progress in preparing the country for bioterrorism, disasters and disease. TFAH finds that the passage of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Ac
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SOURCE Trust for America's Health
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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