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 12 months, including here, here, and here.
Today they’ve released their 8th Annual Report on the readiness of the United States to deal with disease, disasters, and bioterrorism.
While many gains in preparedness have been recorded, according to TFAH the recession and recent budget cuts threaten this hard earned progress.
I’ve links to the full report, a press release, and the audio file of today’s telephone conference about the report’s release.
Complete Report (1.7MB pdf)
Press Release: Report Finds States Achieve Highest Ever Scores for Public Health Preparedness, But Progress Threatened by Budget Cuts (December 13 2010)
How the states ranked.
For Immediate Release: December 14, 2010
2010 Finds States Achieve Highest Ever Scores for Health Emergency Preparedness, But Progress Threatened by Budget Cuts
Washington, D.C., December 14, 2010 - In the eighth annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, 14 states scored nine or higher on 10 key indicators of public health preparedness. Three states (Arkansas, North Dakota, and Washington State) scored 10 out of 10. Another 25 states and Washington, D.C. scored in the 7 to 8 range. No state scored lower than a five.
The scores reflect nearly ten years of progress to improve how the nation prevents, identifies, and contains new disease outbreaks and bioterrorism threats and responds to the aftermath of natural disasters in the wake of the September 11, 2001 and anthrax tragedies. In addition, the real-world experience responding to the H1N1 flu pandemic - supported by emergency supplemental funding - also helped bring preparedness to the next level.
However, the Ready or Not? report, released today by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, notes that the almost decade of gains is in real jeopardy due to severe budget cuts by federal, state, and local governments. The economic recession has led to cuts in public health staffing and eroded the basic capabilities of state and local health departments, which are needed to successfully respond to crises. Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C. cut public health funding from fiscal years (FY) 2008-09 to 2009-10, with 18 of these states cutting funding for the second year in a row. The report also notes that just eight states raised funding for two or more consecutive years. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has found that states have experienced overall budgetary shortfalls of $425 billion since FY 2009.