Come plague, storm or bomb, most U.S. states unprepared: report
By Sharon Begley, Reuters
If you're someone who worries about how first responders and hospitals in your town would perform after a hurricane like Sandy, a Joplin tornado, an anthrax mailing, an outbreak of bird flu or other health threat, a new study has some pointers: stay away from Kansas and Montana.
But you might want to consider moving to Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Vermont or Wisconsin.
On Wednesday, two nonprofit groups released "Ready or Not?", a 79-page analysis of public health preparedness - that is, the ability of hospitals, health departments and others to prevent and respond to emergencies ranging from bioterrorism to influenza outbreaks to catastrophic weather.
It's a grim reckoning. The assessment is based on how many of 10 key benchmarks a state met, such as whether it holds drills to make sure public health workers can respond quickly to, say, a catastrophic release of radiation, and whether its labs can work overtime to identify a mystery disease...