An annual report card to assess states’ readiness to face health threats like disease, natural disaster or bioterrorism finds Indiana near the bottom.
Indiana scores a three out of 10 on its ability to address a number of health threats, based on analysis from the Trust for America’s Health. Paul Kuehnert, assistant vice president for programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says these threats are very real.
“Whether they are from a unique flu bug, from a bioterrorist threat or from something like a natural disaster,” Kuehnert says.
The annual report finds Indiana doesn’t measure up in areas like public health accreditation and flu vaccination. It also failed in measures like flu vaccination rates and paid sick days. Kuehnert says federal public health dollars have also been cut back.
“And then on top of that many states, including Indiana have further cut or not increased public health funding,” he says.
Indiana spends $12.69 per-person on public health; the national average is $36.
But Kuehnert says Indiana does score well on state laboratories.
“So you know biosafety in the lab, being able to do the kinds of tests that are needed for detecting these unusual organisms,” he says.
The report has tracked state’s progress since 2003.