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Brownback Says State’s Low Public Health Preparedness Ranking Too Harsh

Gov. Sam Brownback and others in his administration are challenging a recent national report that ranked Kansas low for public health preparedness.

The critical report was issued by the non-profit Trust for America's Health. In it, Kansas and Montana tied for last place in rankings of public health preparedness. That means the state isn't as prepared as others to respond to public health threats, such as infectious diseases, food-borne illnesses, bio-terrorism, even extreme weather events.

But Brownback and Dr. Robert Moser, the head of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, say the report doesn't give an accurate snapshot of the state's readiness. Moser says the fact that the state's ranking hasn't fluctuated since 2006 calls the process used to compile the scorecard into question. He says Kansas wasn't given any credit for being close to achieving passing scores on some key measures.

The authors of the report say Kansas is one of 29 states losing ground in the rankings because of public health funding cuts. They say Kansas was one of only two states that didn't respond to requests to verify or correct the information before the rankings were released.