Report: States Underprepared To Meet Public Health Needs During A Crisis

The report by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that although some states have improved their preparedness, gaps persist largely because of state budget cuts.

Medscape: Public Health Emergencies: Most Of Nation Unprepared
More than a decade after the September 11, 2001, domestic terrorism attacks, most of the nation remains woefully unprepared to respond to pressing public health needs during such emergencies, largely because of budget cuts, according to a report released this morning. The annual report, "Ready or Not?" released by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ranked states' preparedness to handle public health emergencies resulting from natural disasters, such as Superstorm Sandy; disease outbreaks, such as Escherichia coli; and bioterrorism attacks. Pointing to the aftermath of the mass shooting last week in Newtown, Connecticut, Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director, Trust for America's Health, told reporters it was "a heartbreaking reminder about the importance of ensuring we invest in this as a society" (Henderson, 12/19).

ABC: Most States Underprepared For Public Health Emergencies
There are persistent gaps in the nation's ability to respond to public health emergencies, according to a new study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health, despite a series of recent tragic events like 9-11, anthrax threats and Hurricane Katrina. One of the most notable findings is that 20 U.S. states do not currently mandate written evacuation plans for all licensed child care facilities, should the need arise. "Most school systems have plans in place, but we also need to recognize that child care facilities need plans as well," said Dr. Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health (Austin, 12/19).

CQ HealthBeat: Report Finds Budget Cuts Put Preparedness at Risk
The nation has made progress in preparing for disasters in the past decade but those accomplishments "are now being undermined due to severe budget cuts and lack of prioritization," according to a report released Wednesday by the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation…The 80-page report included a state-by-state analysis of the country's readiness, which determined that Kansas and Montana were the least prepared based on 10 measures. The report found that 29 states reduced public health spending from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2012, and 23 of them did so for the second consecutive year. State and local health departments have cut more than 45,700 jobs nationwide since 2008, the report said (Adams, 12/19).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.