State Meets Half of Bioterrorism Preparedness Objectives
California scored five out of a possible 10 points for bioterrorism preparedness -- the same score the state received last year -- according to ratings issued Tuesday by the Trust for America's Health, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The ratings find the state deficient in being able to deliver medications and medical equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile and in creating a disease-tracking system that can collect data electronically and be monitored on the Internet.
However, the state has met five of the goals set by the trust, including:
- Increased laboratory capacity to handle highly infectious germs;
- An adequate number of lab scientists to test for anthrax or plague;
- Adequate abilities to deal with a chemical terrorism threat;
- Infection control professionals available within 15 minutes of most hospitals around the clock; and
- Adequate medical supplies and equipment for 10 additional patients who require ventilation at at least 50% of state hospitals.
Betsey Lyman, deputy director for public health emergency preparedness at the Department of Health Services, said the state also has accomplished two goals the trust's report found deficient.
One goal is for hospitals to identify "nonmedical beds" for use if hospital beds are filled to capacity. The second goal is making health care workers a priority in receiving vaccines and medications during a medical emergency (Lau, Sacramento Bee, 12/7).
The California-specific ratings are available online. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.