A nonprofit organization dedicated to health policy considers Massachusetts one of the states more prepared for health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trust for America's Health released its annual report, "Ready or Not: Protecting the Public's Health From Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism," on Thursday. The Bay State was included with 16 other states and the District of Columbia at the top level of preparedness this year.
"We did find that Massachusetts was in our high tier this year, where we look at 10 indicators of how states are doing to prepare for a range of public health emergencies, not just disasters," Dara Lieberman, director of government relations at Trust for America's Health, told NBC10 Boston.
Connecticut and Vermont are also in the high tier. Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are among 20 states in the middle tier, as is New York.
Lieberman said the report's goal is "to give states actions that they can take to better prepare for any kind of emergency."
She noted that investing in public health is the organization's top recommendation to lawmakers.
"We found that Massachusetts increased its public health funding levels for the past three years, which is good — they had a slight increase last year — but there certainly needs to be more," she said. "We've had decades of underfunding of public health, both at the state and the national level."
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Lieberman also said Massachusetts could do more to prevent staff shortages from impacting health care.
"One area where we found Massachusetts could improve is they don't belong to something called the Nurse Licensure Compact, and that makes it easier to bring in nurses from out of state when there are workforce shortages in hospitals," she said.
See the full report below: