Trust for America's Health issues emergency preparedness report card
All 50 states and Washington, D.C. were scored on 10 areas of public health including public health funding commitment, flu vaccination rate, reducing health care-associated infections and emergency health care access. The report found the emergency operations overall have improved, including communication and coordination, support for the Strategic National Stockpile, and distribution of critical medicines and vaccines during times of crisis.
Laboratories and foodborne illness detection capabilities have also improved to better serve people around the country.
The report also found that biosurveillance systems are lacking in their capabilities to coordinate in real-time. Research and development of new medicines and vaccines are also behind the pace of new threats. Health care systems are also lacking behind in their preparedness for a mass influx of patients if there were to ever be a major outbreak or attack on the country that would require immediate hospitalization of thousands of people at once.
Part of the reason for the negative data in the report, according to the authors, is a cut in funding for health emergency preparedness of $280 million since 2002 while state health system preparedness has been cut in half since 2005.
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