The Associated Press has released a news story across the nation, which tracks how the budget crisis is compromising our nation’s ability to respond to a public health emergency, such as a swine flu pandemic. This story has appeared in papers across the country, and features quotes from MNA member and Worcester Public Health nurse Ann Cappabianca, which includes several photos of Ann at work.
Local health agencies, stretched to meet swine flu scare, say bigger crisis would swamp them
FRANK BASSRITA BEAMISH | Associated Press Writers Associated Press Writers
9:17 AM EDT, May 26, 2009
Ann Cappabianca, a nurse for the Worcester, Mass., public health department gets back into her car after visiting a client’s home on King street in Worcester, Thursday morning, May 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) (Stephan Savoia, AP / May 21, 2009)
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The swine flu outbreak fell short of a full-blown international crisis, but revealed the precarious state of local health departments, the community bulwarks against disease and health emergencies in the United States.
A sustained, widespread pandemic would overwhelm many departments that are struggling with cutbacks as well as increased demand from people who have lost jobs and medical insurance.
Stung by the lean economy, 13 states and U.S. territories had smaller health budgets in 2008 than in 2007, and eight more made midyear cuts, according to a survey by an advocacy group, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. With local budgets also in trouble, many health officials fear a serious outbreak.
"We would be in a lot of trouble," said Alameda County’s director of public health, Anthony Iton in Oakland. "We weren’t tested to push the system to see how it responds when you have to make hard decisions. I worry about that because the resources have been cut."