The Health of Public Health

Posted by on February 5, 2013

health careA report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation states that the purpose of our public health care system is “protecting the public’s health from diseases, disasters and bio terrorism.”   We are currently in the middle of one of the most serious flu seasons in years.  The east coast is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.  Our public health care systems are on display for all to see.  How have our state systems performed and held up under these stressful events?    

Health Care Management students at Minnesota School of Business are studying the effectiveness of our public health care system.  Graduates will be considering jobs in the field.  The question for all of us is what is the importance of public health care and are we willing to support it.

The 10th annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bio terrorism report looked at ten key indicators for a healthy public health care system and rated each of our states on their vision and effectiveness in each factor.  Each of these indicators has a measurable standard.  The report comes out each year and measures each state’s commitment to quality public health care.  The factors measured in the report are:

  1. Funding CommitmentHealth Care Management
  2. Response Readiness
  3. Infectious Disease Control and Vaccinations
  4. Infectious Disease Control
  5. Extreme Weather Event Preparedness
  6. Community Resiliency
  7. Emergency Management
  8. Health System Preparedness
  9. Public Health Lab Staffing and Capacity
  10. Public Health Lab – Chemical Threat Preparedness

What did this year’s report find?  There are a few concerns.

*  29 states cut funding for public health from 2010-11 to FY 2011-12
*  48 states fell short of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services goal of vaccinating 90% of 19 to 35 month old children against whooping cough
*  13 states do not require Medicaid to cover flu shots with no co-payment for beneficiaries under the age of 65
*  20 states do not require child care facilities to have a multi-hazard written evacuation and relocation plan
*  26 states do not participate in a Nurse Licensure Compact, permitting nurses to be licensed to practice in other states with compacts

The report goes on to score each state for each of the indicators and includes a discussion of the standards for each indicator.  The current flu outbreak tests the states’ preparedness for these types of events and Hurricane Sandy showed the weather disaster related efforts of the states involved.  Check out how your state rated.

Health care managers work to measure these indicators as well as plan and implement strategies to improve them.  Our health care system is currently in a state of change and Health Care Management students at Minnesota School of Business will be prepared to deal with these changes.


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