Delaware Public Media

Study shows improved health emergency preparedness in Delaware

May 8, 2019

New data shows Delaware is about average when it comes to being prepared for health emergencies. But that was not the case a few years ago.

Over the past few years, Delaware has caught up to the national average in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual Health Security Preparedness study.

University of Kentucky Professor of Public Health Glen Mays leads the study’s research team. He says his group measures health emergency preparedness across several sectors.

“We’re measuring things that public health agencies need to do, things that hospitals and physicians or long-term care facilities do, we’ve got measures of schools—school-based activities and we’ve got measures that the private sector has to be engaged in as well,” said Mays.

Mays notes Delaware has improved in the study’s overall index by about 18% over the last six years.

“So that’s a faster rate of improvement than the nation overall. It’s still in line with the national average, but it’s making faster improvements overall—which is a very good sign,” said Mays.

According to this year’s data, the First State’s health and emergency agencies along with its hospitals and schools have improved since 2013 in their ability engage and plan with the community. The data also shows those entities are better at storing and deploying health-related products in case of emergency.

Mays says part of the state’s improvement can be attributed to an increased number of EMS and First Responder groups participating with statewide emergency preparedness organizations, and an increase in Medical Reserve Corps volunteers.

He also notes the state scored worse this year in its ability to test for hazards and contaminants in the environment.