New York emergency preparedness better than U.S. average

New York leads 90% of the U.S. when it comes to being ready for emergencies, according to the National Health Security Preparedness Index.

The annual tool, out Tuesday for its fifth year, measures states’ capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies that pose health risks.

Out of a perfect 10, New York scored 7.6 — up from 7.4 in 2017. Overall, the U.S. scored 7.1 — up from 6.8 a year ago. Clicke here for complete results.

“Threats to America’s health security are on the rise, but so is our nation’s preparedness to deal with these emergencies,” said Alonzo Plough, a research expert at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which compiles the index with other several other groups.

But not everywhere. The Index found that the nation’s health protections are not distributed evenly across the 50 states.

“Deep regional inequities are becoming more pronounce,” the authors noted.

Across the Index, which includes the District of Columbia, 18 states’ scores exceeded the 2018 national average, 21 lagged behind and 12 met it with scores between 7.0 and 7.2.

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The annual index takes into account the ability to deal with health threats, terrorism and extreme weather conditions.  

(Scott Roth/Scott Roth/Invision/AP)

Alaska and Nevada both scored 6.4 — the lowest for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, Maryland tops the list with an 8.0. Virginia follows with 7.8, and Massachusetts with 7.7. New York and Vermont, which also scored 7.6, round out the top five.

The index is based on 140 measures — including flu vaccine rates, infrastructure conditions and the number of pediatricians — that provide a composite score reflecting the most comprehensive picture of health security preparedness available.

Scores indicate the ability to protect Americans from a host of issues. They include health threats, including growing antibiotic resistance; terrorism and extreme weather conditions.

“No single factor distinguishes the strongest and weakest states in health security,” according to Glen Mays, Ph.D., of the Health Management and Policy department at the University of Kentucky.

“Preparedness is the sum of many parts, and each state has a unique portfolio of assets and liabilities,” Mays, who helped develop the index, told the Daily News.

He added that top-ranking states share “common denominators.” One is that they have “denser networks of organizations working together on an ongoing basis for readiness — and not just during times of crisis.” Another is that “strong states tend to make more extensive use of formal policies and laws that specify roles and responsibilities in health security.”

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