State Report Cards Show Shortcomings in H1N1 Flu Preparedness

Public health funding commitment: 27 states cut funding for public health from budgets from 2007-08 to 2008-09.

The report authors recommended that funding be restored for emergency preparedness -- federal preparedness funds have dropped by 27 percent since 2005 -- to help address remaining deficiencies.

They also recommended:

Improvements in surge capacity;

Increased accountability and transparency of public health agencies, which should include a publicly available H1N1 after-action report;

Improvements in community preparedness, including additional measures to reach out quickly to high-risk populations and to address disparities based on income or race;

Development of full legal preparedness for public health emergencies at the state level, including liability protections for healthcare workers and mandates that insurance companies cover vaccines;

Establishment of sick-leave policies.

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