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Report ranks Iowa in top tier for emergency preparedness

A new report found Iowa has improved for its emergency preparedness.
Julia Koblitz
A new report found Iowa has improved for its emergency preparedness.

A new report has ranked Iowa in the top tier when it comes to emergency preparedness, an improvement from its ranking last year.

The annual report from the non-profit Trust for America’s Health ranked states’ emergency preparedness based on 10 factors, such as their ability to expand health care in an emergency, ability to handle increase in demand at laboratories and workers’ access to paid time off.

The report ranks states into low, middle and high tiers.

Iowa, along with 16 other states, was ranked in the high tier.

It showed improvement this year in several areas, said Nadine Gracia, the president and CEO of Trust for America's Health.

"Iowa improved by one tier' she said. "And we noted, in particular, areas of improvement around public health funding as being a key contributor, as well as a slight increase in the percentage of workers who are using paid time off."

Gracia said it's important Iowa continues to fund public health initiatives, even after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The pandemic has certainly placed the spotlight right on how public health has been chronically underfunded," Gracia said. "And so having that increase in public health funding certainly is important in the state of Iowa."

Gracia said an increase workers' paid time off was also a factor in Iowa's ranking.

"That is important - especially when we consider infectious disease outbreaks - the ability to be able to stay home, if one is sick, or stay home to care for a loved one who may be ill to be able to reduce the spread of an infectious disease," she said.

However, Gracia said there are still many ways Iowa, and the entire country, can strengthen emergency preparedness, such as funding programs that address health inequities.

“So in addition to investing in public health, we also need to invest in the policies in the program that will help to assure those community conditions that ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be healthy," she said.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter