Report Grades Calif., Other States on Disease Outbreak Measures
Details of Report
The report was released by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (KMBZ, 12/17).
For the report, states received a point for each indicator they achieved.
Data to determine whether states achieved each indicator were culled from publicly available sources or were provided by state officials.
Twenty-eight states met at least five of the 10 indicators for detecting, diagnosing, preventing and responding to disease outbreaks (TFAH release, 12/17).
The highest-scoring states, earning eight points each, were:
- New York; and
The lowest-scoring states, earning three points each, were:
- Oregon; and
- Utah (Osby, Greenville News, 12/17).
California scored points for seven of the 10 indicators:
- Childhood immunization requirements;
- Climate change adaption plans that include public health implications;
- Food safety;
- HIV/AIDS surveillance;
- Public health laboratories employing a biosafety professional;
- Public health laboratories providing biosafety training and information; and
- Syringe exchange programs.
The three measures California did not receive points for were:
- Flu vaccination rates;
- Public health funding commitments; and
- Reducing central line-associated bloodstream infections.
California cut public health funding by 13.3% from fiscal year 2013-2014 to FY 2014-2015 -- the largest reduction of any state, according to the report.
Meanwhile, just 44.2% of California's population ages six months and older received flu vaccinations (TFAH/RWJF report, December 2015).
Jeffrey Levi, executive director of TFAH, said, "The overuse of antibiotics and underuse of vaccinations along with unstable and insufficient funding have left major gaps in our country's ability to prepare for infectious disease threats." Levi added, "We cannot afford to continue to be complacent. Infectious diseases -- which are largely preventable -- disrupt the lives of millions of Americans and contribute to billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs each year."
RWJF Director Paul Kuehnert said, "America's investments in infectious disease prevention ebb and flow, leaving our nation challenged to sufficiently address persistent problems," adding, "We need to reboot our approach so we support the health of every community by being ready when new infectious threats emerge."
The report recommends:
- Adopting new strategies for eliminating AIDS;
- Decreasing antibiotic overuse, while increasing vaccination rates;
- Improving health systems' ability to prepare for potential outbreaks;
- Increasing resources so that every state can maintain and modernize methods for responding to disease outbreaks;
- Providing incentives for developing new treatments and vaccines;
- Strengthening efforts to reduce health care-associated infections;
- Taking measures to contain rising sexually transmitted infection rates; and
- Updating disease surveillance (TFAH release, 12/17).