© 2024 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Report Finds Iowa Has Improved Readiness For Public Health Emergencies

Amy Mayer
IPR File
Iowa's emergency response to public health emergencies was tested last spring when Iowa experienced historic levels of flooding.

A report released this week has found Iowa has made improvements when it comes to dealing with public health emergencies.

Trust for America’s Health conducted the annual report, which looks at factors such as water security, patient safety and cross-sector collaboration to determine how prepared the state is for public health emergencies.

Dara Lieberman, the director of government relations for Trust for America's Health, said this year Iowa’s ranking moved to the highest performance tier from the middle tier.

"Iowa improved its seasonal flu vaccination rates from the year before," said Lieberman. "It added its accreditation of its state public health department. And it did slightly better in some other areas such as water security, so making sure people have access to safe water."

It’s important that states are prepared across multiple sectors for emergencies before they happen, she said.

"We're seeing with the coronavirus, you really need to have the public health personnel systems and training ready to go," Lieberman said, "so that whether it's a coronavirus or a flood, or a manmade disaster, we can protect people and save lives."

Lieberman said a real life example of this happened last spring when the state experienced significant flooding in its western and eastern parts.

"Last year's historic flooding that we saw throughout the Midwest really demonstrated how public health emergency management, private sector, and healthcare all need to work together and and can successfully work together during an emergency," she said.

Iowa joins 24 other states along with Washington D.C. in the highest tier category.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter