A Boost for Public Health

Are Americans more prepared in terms of public health? The annual 2016 National Health Security Preparedness Index from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says so, although there is still room for improvement in some states.

In this year’s version of the annual report, which began in 2013, the U.S. scored 6.7 out of 10 in terms of preparedness.

The report used over 100 measures, including flu vaccination rates, number of hospitals, presence of food inspection programs, and also participation in drills by public health laboratories, percentage of people covered by wireless 911 and hazard planning for public schools and other infrastructure measures.

Although the country did better overall than the initial report three years ago, results varied by state, with a 36 per cent gap between the highest and lowest rankings.

The eastern seaboard, upper midwest and southwestern states performed well in the index, with 18 states achieving significantly above average preparedness levels. The report found that clusters of states in the deep south and mountain west did not perform as well, with 16 states having significantly lower than average levels of preparedness. “Some states with comparatively low levels of preparedness are located in geographic regions that face elevated risks of disasters, indicating a need for focused improvements in high-risk and low-resource areas,” said the report. Other results from the report included:

  • Upward trending of laboratory testing capabilities for Zika (but not universally available across the country.)
  • Downward trends for laboratory testing capabilities for drinking water and fully-compliant public drinking water systems.
  • Changes in employment patterns and practices affecting health security.

The final results of the Index are measured by six criteria: Incident and Information Management (8.4 on the 10-point scale), Health Security Surveillance (7.5), Countermeasure Management for biologic, chemical or nuclear threats (7.0), Environmental and Occupational Health (6.4), Community Planning and Engagement, (5.4) and Health Care Delivery, (5.1).

Source:

http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/articles-and-news/2016/04/2016-index-shows-nation-preparedness-public-health-emergencies-improving.html

To see how your state performed in the index, visit: http://www.www.nhspi.org.

For one state’s perspective and more information as to how it performed on the index, visit: http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/life/sunlife/2016/05/11/new-mexico-prepared-emergencies/83987856/.