Massachusetts Receives Top Ranking in New England for its Readiness to Deal With Public Health Emergencies

The commonwealth of Massachusetts received the highest ranking among all New England states for its ability to respond to a public health emergency in a survey released today by The Trust For Americas Health, a private, non-partisan public health group.  The survey measured all 50 states to determine how prepared each state is to deal with a public health emergency.  Only eight states received higher scores than Massachusetts.  The survey looked at 10 different indicators to measure preparedness including the ability to test for chemical and biological threats, hospital surge capacity and the states efforts to work with local health departments to prioritize a system to ensure distribution of influenza vaccines.

The ability of Massachusetts to respond to a public health emergency has significantly improved from its ranking in last years survey.

"We ranked in the top half of states nationally, and had the best score of any of the New England states, but Governor Romney believes we can do better and last summer he directed all the agencies of government, including the Department of Public Health (DPH), to improve their preparedness to respond to different types of emergencies," said DPH Commissioner Paul Cote, Jr.

Significant efforts have been underway in Massachusetts to prepare for all public health emergencies with a major focus toward preparing for an influenza pandemic. All state agencies have been working to develop Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) in partnership with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and the Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS).

We continue to work closely with hospitals and the medical community to ensure the best the state of readiness possible should we face an influenza pandemic or any public health emergency, said Cote.