KHI News Service

Kansas gets failing grade for public health preparedness

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | December 19, 2012

State-by-state public health preparedness indicators and scores.

View larger photo

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.”

Audio clip

KPR story: Public health preparedness lags in Kansas

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.

The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute. It is supported in part by a variety of underwriters. The News Service is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy-making environment. All News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution, including a link back to when a story is reposted online. An automatically updated feed of headlines and more from KHI can be included on your website using the KHI widget. More about the News Service at or contact us at (785) 233-5443.