Though it increased funding for public health programs this year, Georgia ranks in the bottom half of all states when it comes to its preparedness for natural disasters, disease prevention and bioterrorism alerts.
Those are the findings of a new report from Trust for America’s Health, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan think tank.
Georgia is one of 25 states to score a 5 out of 10 or lower based on a set of criteria, with deductions for not providing mandated paid sick leave; a flu vaccination rate below 50 percent; and the state does not meet the threshold of 70 percent or more of its hospitals meeting core elements of an antibiotic stewardship program.
Alaska scored the lowest of any state with a 2 out of 10, and Massachusetts and Rhode Island scored the highest at 9 out of 10.
Report detailsGeorgia is one of 25 states to score a 5 out of 10 or lower on a new report about public health preparedness. Read the full report at healthyamericans.org/reports/readyornot2017/.
The report concludes that Georgia and nation “does not invest enough to maintain strong, basic core capabilities for health security readiness and, instead, is in a continued state of inefficiently reacting with federal emergency supplemental funding packages each time a disaster strikes.”
Georgia, however, is one of just 19 states and Washington, D.C., to increase or maintain funding for public health programs from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal years.
Funding for state and local preparedness programs nationwide has been cut by about one-third and hospital emergency preparedness funds have been cut in half in 2017, according to the health organization.
“As a nation, we — year after year — fail to fully support public health and preparedness,” John Auerbach, president and CEO of TFAH, said in a press release. “If we don't improve our baseline funding and capabilities, we’ll continue to be caught completely off-guard when hurricanes, wildfires and infectious disease outbreaks hit.”