On December 13th, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released the report, “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism.” The report contains a state-by-state evaluation of health emergency preparedness capabilities, based on 10 key indicators. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) released “The National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine” in January, 2006. The ACEP report assessed the commitment to emergency medicine on a state-by-state basis, using 50 indicators. Both reports agree, five years after September 11th, emergency health preparedness is inadequate in America.
Among the key points of the TFAH report:
*Twenty-five states would run out of hospital beds within two weeks of a pandemic flu outbreak.
*Only 15 states have the highest preparedness level for providing emergency vaccines, antidotes, and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile.
*Forty states face a shortage of nurses.
*Rates for vaccinating seniors for the seasonal flu decreased in 13 states.
*Six states cut their public health budgets from fiscal year 2005, resulting in a median rate for state public health spending of $31 per person per year.
See the full TFAH report and recommendations for improvement at http://healthyamericans.org/reports/bioterror06/
See ACEP’s National Report Card at http://acep.org/