TFAH, or the Trust For America’s Health, is a non-profit organization that audits and reports on public health issues in the United States. I’ve highlighted a number of their previous reports in the past (see TFAH Report: H1N1 Challenges Ahead).
Today they’ve released their 7th annual report on the readiness of the United States to deal with disease, disasters, and bioterrorism. In it they find that the H1N1 pandemic outbreak of 2009 has revealed a number of shortcomings in our national public health preparedness plans.
A hat tip to Jimmy Jazz at the Break Glass Blog for calling this report to my attention.
Here is an excerpt from the press release, and a link to the actual report follows.
For Immediate Release: December 15, 2009
New Report: H1N1 Reveals Gaps in Nation’s Emergency Health Preparedness Efforts; Twenty States Score Six or Less Out of Ten Key Indicators
WASHINGTON, DC - The seventh annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, released today by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), found that the H1N1 flu outbreak has exposed serious underlying gaps in the nation's ability to respond to public health emergencies and that the economic crisis is straining an already fragile public health system.
The report found that 20 states scored six or less out of 10 key indicators of public health emergency preparedness. Nearly two-thirds of states scored seven or less. Eight states tied for the highest score of nine out of 10: Arkansas, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Vermont. Montana had the lowest score at three out of 10. The preparedness indicators are developed in consultation with leading public health experts based on data from publicly available sources or information provided by public officials.
"The H1N1 outbreak has vividly revealed existing gaps in public health emergency preparedness," said Richard Hamburg, Deputy Director of TFAH. "The Ready or Not? report shows that a band-aid approach to public health is inadequate. As the second wave of H1N1 starts to dissipate, it doesn't mean we can let down our defenses. In fact, it's time to double down and provide a sustained investment in the underlying infrastructure, so we will be prepared for the next emergency and the one after that."
Complete Report (1.7MB pdf)
Press Release: New Report: H1N1 Reveals Gaps in Nation's Emergency Health Preparedness Efforts; Twenty States Score Six or Less Out of Ten Key Indicators (December 15, 2009)
Using the TFAH criteria, a many states have dropped in ranking since last year. In 2008, 5 states scored a 10, while this year no state scored higher than 9.