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Report: Michigan needs to improve health emergency preparedness


A new report finds Michigan is prepared for some public health emergencies. But it also says there's more work to be done.

The report called "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism" looks at 10 key indicators, including whether the state maintained or increased funding for public health programs during fiscal years 2010 to 2012.

Michigan did not.

Paul Kuehnert is with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which co-authored the report with Trust for America's Health, both nonprofit organizations.

"The federal, state and local budget cuts to public health preparedness, documented in the report, are very alarming and they are putting all of our past success at risk," Kuehnert says.

"You can pay now, up front, and invest in making sure we have the systems in place to protect people, or we can spend a lot more in dealing with a disaster,"  adds Jeffrey Levi of Trust for America's Health.

The report found Michigan does have adequate laboratory staffing in the event of an infectious disease outbreak or chemical threats.

However, it also found Michigan did not meet a federal goal of vaccinating 90 percent of children between 19- and 35-months-old  against whooping cough.

Also in the negative column, Michigan:

-- does not have a complete climate change adaptation plan.

-- does not mandate all licensed child-care facilities to have a multi-hazard written evacuation and relocation plan.

In the plus column, Michigan:

-- was deemed able to notify and immediately assemble (within 60 minutes) public health staff to ensure a quick response.

-- has been accredited by the Emergency management Accreditation Program.

Michigan  scored five out of a possible 10 points -- one of 35 states that scored a six or lower.

The full report is available at www.healthyamericans.org.