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States Lagging in Emergency Preparedness: Report
Date:12/19/2012

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- While significant progress has been made in the past 10 years, many states still fall short in their preparedness for public health emergencies such as disease outbreaks, natural disasters and bioterrorist attacks, according to a new report.

It found that 35 states and Washington, D.C. scored 6 or lower on 10 key indicators of public health preparedness. Kansas and Montana scored lowest -- 3 of 10 -- while Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin scored highest, with 8 of 10.

The scores of other states were:

  • Score of 7: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota and Virginia.
  • Score of 6: Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
  • Score of 5: Alaska, Arizona, Washington, D.C., Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.
  • Score of 4: Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Nevada and New Jersey.

The 10th annual report was released Wednesday by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Among the key findings:

  • 29 states cut public health funding from fiscal years 2010-2011 to 2011-2012, with 23 of these states cutting funds for a second year in a row and 14 for three consecutive years.
  • Federal funds for state and local preparedness have decreased 38 percent from 2005 to 2012. States report that gains in public health preparedness achieved since Sept. 11, 2001, are eroding, and that budget cuts since 2008 have resulted in more than 45,700 job losses at state and local health departments.
  • Two states alone have met the national goal of vaccinating 90 percent of young children, ages 19 to 36 months, against whoo
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