Minnesota Better Prepared Than Most for Public Health Emergency
Photo courtesy of Ravedave (Wikimedia Commons, CC)

Minnesota Better Prepared Than Most for Public Health Emergency

Report says state excels at environmental health, lags on community planning.

Minnesotans can sleep a little better tonight knowing that their state is more prepared than most to effectively handle a public health emergency like an Ebola outbreak.

That’s according to the 2017 National Health Security Preparedness Index released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Princeton, New Jersey-based foundation compiles the annual index, which was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The index uses 139 measures in six broad categories to rate the nation and individual states on a 10-point scale of how prepared they are for a public health emergency.

The six domains of health security are:

  • Health security surveillance
  • Community planning and engagement
  • Information and incident management
  • Health care delivery
  • Countermeasure management
  • Environmental and occupational health

“Improving health security and preparedness is important for all communities across the country,” the foundation said in a press release announcing this year’s results. “In our highly mobile country, national emergency preparedness depends on having high levels of protection in every state, city and region.”

The index gave the U.S. an overall score of 6.8 for 2016, up slightly from 6.7 in 2015. Minnesota, meanwhile, notched a 7.3 rating in 2016, higher than the national index and up from 7.1 in 2015.

Minnesota scored higher than the nation in five of the six health security categories:

  • 9.0 for environmental and occupational health versus 7.0 for the U.S.
  • 8.6 for health security surveillance versus 7.9 for the U.S.
  • 8.3 for incident and information management versus 8.2 for the U.S.
  • 7.5 for countermeasure management versus 7.0 for the U.S.
  • 6.0 for health care delivery versus 5.3 for the U.S.
  • 5.5 for community planning and engagement versus 5.8 for the U.S.

Minnesota was one of 18 states with a composite public health disaster preparedness score above the national average. Twelve states and the District of Columbia were at the national average. And 20 states were below the national average.