Three states earn perfect preparedness scores

Arkansas, Washington and North Dakota have received perfect scores in a new report on preparedness for a public health emergency.

The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism" for the last eight years, according to

In the report, states are given a rating based on a ten point scale. A 10 out of 10 score is good news for the Arkansas State Health Department.

"This really indicates what we've been and continue to strive for in the area of public health preparedness in the state of Arkansas," William Mason, chief of Arkansas' health department preparedness branch said, according to

Mason said that Arkansas has been working for the last decade to improve how the nation and the state prevent, identify and contain new diseases, outbreaks and bioterrorism threats, as well as their response to natural disasters.

Jeff Levi, director of Trust for America’s Health, warned that many states have had to cut funding for public health preparedness due to the recent recession.

"There is an emergency for health preparedness in the United States," Levi warned in a press release, according to "This year, the Great Recession is taking its toll on emergency health preparedness. Unfortunately, the recent and continued budget cuts will exacerbate he vulnerable areas in U.S. crisis response capabilities and have the potential to reverse the progress we have made over the last decade."

Mason said that budget cuts in the last fiscal year put constraints on Arkansas’s health preparedness financing, but said no layoffs or substantial cuts have had to be made.

"Fiscally, we have a stable budget and that has helped us maintain our public health staff," Mason said, reports. "We are much better off than other states."