Baltimore, MD (October 9, 2012) - Governor Martin O'Malley announced today that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has earned a top score in public health emergency preparedness from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The annual review and evaluation process was conducted earlier this year.
DHMH earned a score of 100 (out of a possible 100) in its 2011 evaluation. This is the fourth straight year that DHMH has improved its rating. DHMH started with a score of 67 in 2008 and earned a score of 96 in its 2010 evaluation.
“Maryland continues to make emergency preparedness a priority,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “There is nothing more important than working to ensure that our residents and communities are safe and secure during public health disasters and emergencies.”
During the past few years, DHMH has worked with local health departments and other emergency response partners to plan, prepare and exercise for public health emergencies. DHMH has worked diligently to build an extensive emergency response infrastructure with state-of-the-art equipment, technology and highly qualified personnel.
The CDC report notes Maryland’s improvements in biosurveillance, enhanced public health laboratory capabilities and the state’s demonstrated ability to receive, store and distribute life-saving antibiotics, antivirals and critical medical equipment and supplies.
“This is certainly a significant accomplishment,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, DHMH Secretary.
“Yet we know the dedication and hard work must continue as we strive to be even better in the future.”
Other outstanding Maryland achievements include the state’s ESSENCE system (Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics), which allows state officials to detect emerging diseases and infectious disease outbreaks. With ESSENCE, state medical technicians can obtain information about emergency room patient symptoms, data on the use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescriptions dispensed to patients, and real-time school absentee records.
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