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Friday, March 5th, 2021

Report: Nation’s preparedness for public health emergencies showing improvement

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released its annual assessment of health security and preparedness on Monday, which showed improvement for the United States.

The report, entitled the “2016 National Health Security Preparedness Index,” showed that the United States scored a 6.7 on a 10-point scale for preparedness. The score represents a 3.6 percent increase since the index began scoring nations three years ago.

While the U.S. improved its overall score, the report said that there was a 36-point percentage gap between the highest and lowest-scoring states. Eighteen states achieved scores far above the national average. Conversely, the report found that 16 states score far below the national average, including many states in the Deep South and Mountain West regions.

“In order to keep Americans safe, we need to know how well equipped every state in the nation is to prevent and manage widespread health emergencies,” Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said. “Every sector needs a yardstick to clearly show where progress is being made and where improvement can occur. America’s health security is no exception.”

The report gathered information from more than 100 different measures, ranging from flu vaccination rates, availability of hospitals, food inspection programs, infrastructure, percentage of citizens covered by wireless 911 and hazard planning for public schools.