Virginia has emerged as tied for first place among states in a new national report that measures state readiness to respond to public health threats during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, the 2021 National Health Security Preparedness Index, assesses emergency planning and preparation. It was compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the University of Colorado School of Public Health, and the University of Kentucky Center for Business and Economic Research.
Virginia earned a score of 7.4 on a 10-point scale, representing the top mark among states alongside Maryland, Massachusetts, and Nebraska.
“Our hospital and health system members and their teams of dedicated caregivers and support personnel have been tested like never before while treating patients and protecting public health from the moment the COVID-19 pandemic reached Virginia in March 2020,” said Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton.
“They have responded to this unprecedented global health emergency with skill, determination, and great courage,” Connaughton said. “In the process, they have participated in a large-scale response effort that includes providing direct care to nearly 70,000 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 who were later discharged and administering more than 2 million vaccine doses. Virginia’s ranking as a top state for public health emergency readiness is a testament to the work of many people and organizations, including our hospitals and their employees.”
The National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI) is a national tool that measures existing capabilities to protect the public from the health consequences of disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and other large-scale hazardous events. Its assessments are based on data drawn from 64 sources, and it represents one of the most comprehensive evaluations of state-by-state emergency preparedness infrastructure.
The NHSPI assessment methodology incorporates several years of data to measure state performance across six domains: health security surveillance, community planning and engagement, incident and information management, healthcare delivery, countermeasure management, and environmental and occupational health.