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Overall U.S. Health Crisis Preparedness has Risen; Regional Inequities Persist

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

2018 National Health Security Preparedness Index

The 2018 National Health Security Preparedness Index indicates the United States achieved a 7.1 on a 10-point scale for health crisis preparedness, which is almost a 3 percent improvement from last year.

Produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the report measures the nation’s and each state’s ability to protect its citizens from health crises such as terrorism, extreme weather conditions, and infectious diseases.

“Every community must be equipped to prepare for, respond to, and recover from any health emergency,” Stephen C. Redd, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, said.

Regional Inequities

Though health crisis preparedness has increased in the nation overall, regional inequities still exist; in fact, there is a 25 percent gap between the state with the highest score (Maryland, at 8.0) and the state with the lowest score (Nevada, at 6.4). Twenty-one states rank below the national average, and four states’ scores went down since last year. States in the Deep South, Southwestern, and Upper Mountain West regions achieved lower preparedness scores than those in other regions.

Health Crisis Preparedness Measurements

The report measures 140 individual factors—such as the number of primary care physicians, the percentage of people who had flu shots, and bridge safety—that fall into six overall categories to measure health crisis preparedness. The six categories are health security surveillance; community planning and engagement; information and incident management; healthcare delivery; countermeasure management; and environment and occupational health.

“Threats to America’s health security are on the rise, but so is our nation’s preparedness to deal with these emergencies,” said Alonzo Plough, vice president of research-evaluation-learning and chief science officer at RWJF.

To see your state’s health crisis preparedness ranking, click here.

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