Public health preparedness improvements since 9/11 eroding: report

January 9, 2013

Washington – Despite improvements in public health preparedness, budget shortfalls and cuts leave gaps in government’s ability to respond to a variety of health emergencies, according to a report from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In a report card (.pdf file) issued Dec. 19, the public health nonprofit organizations found 35 states and Washington, D.C. scored a 6 or lower out of 10 on measures indicating preparedness (10 being the highest score).

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, gains made in public health preparedness have eroded, the report states, and more than 45,000 state and local health department jobs have been cut since 2008.

Most states have cut public health funding between fiscal years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, and nearly half have cut this funding two years in a row, according to the report.

“Budget cuts and complacency are the biggest threats we face,” TFAH Executive Director Jeffrey Levi said in a press release.