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Kansas Ranks High in Emergency Preparedness

By Kelley Weiss

Kansas City, MO – A new report finds that Kansas is more prepared to handle a pandemic flu outbreak or bioterrorism attack than almost any other state in the country. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports.

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The non-profit organization Trust for America's Health reports that Kansas is the second most prepared state in the country to respond to a public health emergency, only behind Oklahoma. A spokesperson for the organization says while Kansas and other Midwest states rank high in the report it's sometime easier for lower population states to meet the criteria.

Mindee Reece, director of the Kansas Center for Public Health Preparedness, says the state has worked hard to get ready to respond to a variety of situations.

Mindee Reece: "We're ready for any kind of health or medical emergency from a tornado or a flood to an infectious disease outbreak, such as mumps, or a terrorism related event."

The report measured 10 criteria for emergency preparedness including access to vaccines, hospital's capacity and staffing to handle a pandemic flu outbreak and quality of immunization programs. Kansas met 9 of the 10 indicators, while Missouri met 8 of the 10. Although some states scored well the report says emergency health preparedness is still inadequate across the country.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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