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New Report Places 25 States and DC in High Performance Tier on 10 Public Health Emergency Preparedness Measures

February 5, 2020 GMT
Trust for America's Health logo. (PRNewsFoto/Trust for America's Health)
Trust for America's Health logo. (PRNewsFoto/Trust for America's Health)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia were high-performers on a three-tier measure of states’ preparedness to protect the public’s health during an emergency, according to a new report released today by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). The annual report, Ready or Not 2020: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism, found year-over-year improvement among 10 emergency readiness measures, but also notes areas in need of improvement. Last year, 17 states ranked in the report’s top tier.

For 2020, 12 states placed in the middle performance tier, down from 20 states and the District of Columbia in the middle tier last year, and 13 placed in the low performance tier, the same number as last year.

The report found that states’ level of preparedness has improved in key areas, including public health funding, participation in healthcare coalitions and compacts, hospital safety, and seasonal flu vaccination. However, other key health security measures, including ensuring a safe water supply and access to paid time off, stalled or lost ground.

Performance Tier

States

Number of States

High Tier

AL, CO, CT, DC, DE, IA, ID, IL, KS, MA, MD, ME, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NM, OK, PA, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI

25 states and DC

Middle Tier

AZ, CA, FL, GA, KY, LA, MI, MN, ND, OR, RI, TX

12 states

Low Tier

AK, AR, HI, IN, MT, NH, NV, NY, OH, SC, SD, WV, WY

13 states

The report measures states’ performance on an annual basis using 10 indicators that, taken together, provide a checklist of a jurisdiction’s level of preparedness to prevent and respond to threats to its residents’ health during an emergency. The indicators are:

Preparedness Indicators

1

Incident Management: Adoption of the Nurse Licensure Compact.

6

Water Security: Percentage of the population who used a community water system that failed to meet all applicable health-based standards.

2

Cross-Sector Community Collaboration: Percentage of hospitals participating in healthcare coalitions.

7

Workforce Resiliency and Infection Control: Percentage of employed population with paid time off.

3

Institutional Quality: Accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board.

8

Countermeasure Utilization: Percentage of people ages 6 months or older who received a seasonal flu vaccination.

4

Institutional Quality: Accreditation by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program.

9

Patient Safety: Percentage of hospitals with a top-quality ranking ("A" grade) on the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade.

5

Institutional Quality: Size of the state public health budget, compared with the past year.

10

Health Security Surveillance: The public health laboratory has a plan for a six- to eight-week surge in testing capacity.

Four states (Delaware, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Utah) moved from the low performance tier in last year’s report to the high tier in this year’s report. Six states (Illinois, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont) and the District of Columbia moved up from the middle tier to the high tier. No state fell from the high to the low tier but six moved from the middle to the low tier: Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

“The increasing number of threats to Americans’ health in 2019, from floods to wildfires to vaping, demonstrate the critical importance of a robust public health system. Being prepared is often the difference between harm or no harm during health emergencies and requires four things: planning, dedicated funding, interagency and jurisdictional cooperation, and a skilled public health workforce,” said John Auerbach, President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health.

“While this year’s report shows that, as a nation, we are more prepared to deal with public health emergencies, we’re still not as prepared as we should be. More planning and investment are necessary to saves lives,” Auerbach said.

TFAH’s analysis found that:

Other sections of the report describe how the public health system was critical to the vaping crisis response, how health inequities put some communities at greater risk during an emergency, and the needs of people with disabilities during an emergency.

The full text of the report can be accessed at www.tfah.org/report-details/readyornot2020

Trust for America’s Health is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes optimal health for every person and community and makes the prevention of illness and injury a national priority. www.tfah.org. Twitter: @healthyamerica1

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SOURCE Trust for America’s Health