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Dec. 19, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. Kansas ranks dead last for public health preparedness, according to a new report released today.
The Ready or Not report by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health, lists Kansas and Montana as the worst performing states in the nation, with each meeting only three out of 10 readiness criteria.
That means that Kansas is significantly less well prepared than other states to respond to health threats such as foodborne illnesses, infectious diseases and extreme weather events.
Factors that led to Kansas’ low ranking included funding cuts in state and local public health programs, insufficient staffing at the state’s public health laboratory and the state’s inability to meet preparedness standards set by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program.
The report said that in recent years the nation and states have regressed after spending much of the last decade steadily improving their ability to respond to public health emergencies.
“The bad news is that the accomplishments achieved over the past decade to improve public health preparedness for all hazards are now being undermined due to sever budget cuts and lack of prioritization,” the report said.
The report said that instead of building on progress made early in the decade, “the progress of the past 10 years is now at risk.”
Kansas is one of 29 states listed in the report that has decreased public health funding since the 2010 budget year, reducing it by 6 percent. Kansas was one of only three states that did not respond to requests to verify or correct the budget information contained in the report. Minnesota and South Dakota were the others.
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