Ready or Not? Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism, 2005


Publication Date:

Publisher: Trust for America's Health

Author(s): Trust for America's Health

Research Area: Health

Type: Report


Although an integral part of America's disaster response efforts, the nation's public health system is unprepared to handle and respond to modern threats such as bioterrorism, disease outbreaks and natural disasters. In its third report that examines the state of America's public health emergency response capabilities, Trust for America's Health concluded that both federal and state preparation for major emergencies were still falling short of goals established post-9/11. Indicators measured communications, management and vaccine stockpiling capabilities.

The key findings of the report are:

* Over half of states received a score of 5 or less of 10 possible indicators that assess its health emergency preparedness capabilities.
* The least prepared (with two) were Alabama, Alaska, Iowa and New Hampshire. The most prepared states (with eight) were Delaware, South Carolina and Virginia.
* Hospitals in only two states are prepared to provide incentives for workers, ensuring the continuity of care in the event of a major outbreak.
* Hospitals in nearly one-third of states have not adequately planned to care for an increase in patients, nor have they prioritized the distribution of vaccines to hospital workers, nor can they rapidly consult with health care experts.
* The federal public health performance garnered a grade of D+.

The report concludes with several recommendations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proposes to prepare America for a crisis: increased leadership and accountability, improved incorporation of planning efforts with expert input, and a major increase in annual monetary investments.