FRANKFORT, Ky. (December 14, 2004) A report released today by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) highlighted Kentucky’s progress in preparing to respond to acts of bioterrorism or public health emergencies. Kentucky achieved seven out of 10 criteria used to measure states’ preparedness.
“This report showcases the true spirit of collaboration that has been part of Kentucky’s preparedness efforts since day one,” said Dr. William Hacker, Commissioner of Public Health. “The Department for Public Health and its partners – Kentucky’s local health departments, state homeland security and emergency management officials, the Kentucky Hospital Association and other local and state response agencies -- have worked tirelessly to increase Kentucky’s ability to respond to any public health threat or emergency.”
“Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health in the Age of Bioterrorism – 2004” examined 10 key indicators to gauge state preparedness and determine America’s overall readiness to respond to bioterrorist attacks and other health emergencies. This is the second year in a row that TFAH conducted a review of bioterrorism and public health preparedness.
Kentucky is one of eight states to achieve seven out of 10 indicators; over two-thirds of states and the District of Columbia scored six or less out of the 10 possible indicators. Florida and North Carolina scored the highest, at nine out of 10, and Alaska and Massachusetts scored the lowest, at three out of 10.
“Although we still have a great deal of work to do, this report further demonstrates the Fletcher Administration's commitment to ensuring Kentucky is ready and prepared,” said Keith Hall, Director of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. “I am pleased that the tremendous efforts of Kentucky's preparedness partners have been recognized by this national survey.”
The seven indicators Kentucky received were: Kentucky has a response plan for pandemic flu; Kentucky has enough lab scientists available to run tests in the event of such a bioterrorism-related outbreak; Kentucky increased flu vaccination rates in adults 65 and up in ’02-’03; Kentucky has the legal authority to quarantine; Kentucky has less than 25 percent of its public health workforce eligible to retire within five years; Kentucky’s public health budget was not cut between Fiscal Year 2003 and 2004; and that there is local concurrence with the state’s bioterrorism preparedness plan.
For the full text of the report visit the Trust for America’s Health site at: http://healthyamericans.org/reports/bioterror04/