Report raises South Carolina’s health disaster preparedness from ‘low’ to ‘high’

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) — South Carolina is more poised for a health catastrophe than in previous years, according to a report recently released by the Trust for America’s Health.

The 2022 Ready or Not: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report raised South Carolina’s performance rating from “low” to “high,” joining 16 other states with the designation. Twenty states are in the “medium” category, and 13 have been classified as having a “low” level of readiness.

South Carolina joins Ohio and Pennsylvania in moving from “low” to “high”. South Carolina’s improvement is due to the new health indicator, the comprehensiveness of the public health system, as well as the state’s accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board, according to the report. The state has also increased the use of paid leave.

North Carolina, meanwhile, has gone from “high” to “medium” level.

Ratings are based on multiple indicators – incident management, institutional quality and quantity, water safety, workforce resilience and infection control, use of countermeasures, patient safety and security oversight sanitary.

According to the report, South Carolina had a plan for a lab surge, 29% of hospitals have an “A” grade, the state participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact, 44% of the population is served by a system comprehensive public health system, that there has been no change in public health funding, and that 3% of the population uses a community water system that does not meet health standards. These indicators are about the same as the national averages.

The report makes several national recommendations, including promoting health equity in preparedness efforts, ensuring effective coordination, and preparing for environmental threats and extreme weather.

Ensuring safe drinking water for populations after disasters, according to the report, will help protect drinking and agricultural water systems against terrorism. A specific recommendation in this category urges Congress to reinstate the federal clean water rule.