ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- The COVID-19 pandemic exposed New York’s weaknesses and strengths for dealing with a health care crisis. The best thing any state can do is learn from the past to build back a better plan to handle the next health care crisis better than COVID.

Although there are challenges, the state is in a better place today than it was a year ago, according to the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). The organization released a report Thursday that ranks the preparedness of each state. There are three tiers ranking states’ performance in handling health crises, low, middle, and high.

New York ranked in the low tier for performance in 2021 but was able to reach the middle tier in 2022 along with 19 other states including Delaware, Maine, and New Hampshire on the east coast. TFAH looked at how much money states spend on health care, patient safety, workforce resiliency, and other indicators to rank performance.

TierStates
LowAlaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming
MiddleArizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennesse, Texas, and Wisconsin
HighAlabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington DC, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington

New York’s direct neighbors, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont were all ranked in the high tier. New York was one of nine states that improved by one tier. There were three states that improved by two tiers and 16 states dropped a tier. TFAH said this is in part because a new indicator was added that takes into consideration the percentage of the population served by a comprehensive public health system.

Check out how New York scored on each indicator in the table below:

New York Indicator information

IndicatorInformation
Incident Management
Adoption of the Nurse Licensure Compact
Doesn’t participate
Public Health System Comprehensiveness
Percentage of the population served by a comprehensive public health system
77%
Institutional Quality
Accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board
Accredited
Institutional Quality
Accreditation by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program
Accredited
Institutional Quality
Size of the state health budget compared to the year prior
+7%
Water Security
Percentage of population that uses a water system that doesn’t meet all health-based standards
45%
Workforce Resiliency and Infection Control
Percentage of employed that used paid time off during March 2020
60%
Countermeasure Utilization
Vaccination rate of population ages 6 months or older that received a flu shot
55.6
Patient Safety
Percentage of hospitals with an “A” ranking on the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade
8%
Health Security Surveillance
The public health laboratory has a plan for a six-to-eight-week surge in testing capacity
Has a plan

Increased, flexible, and sustained public health funding, modernization of laboratories, investment in public health through anti-poverty programs as well as a diverse and highly skilled public health workforce are ways TFAH said states can become better prepared. Many of these issues are addressed in New York’s 2023 budget.

“New York State and the State’s Department of Health continue to immediately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, effectively manage the winter surge and the Omicron variant’s emergence, and prepare for the needs ahead, including through new initiatives and unprecedented investments in public health and pandemic response readiness through Gov. Kathy Hochul’s FY 2023 Executive Budget,” a spokesperson said.

From replenishing the health care workforce and ensuring that health care workers have the support they need to more funding for upgrades to state laboratories and the Medicaid program, Gov. Hochul plans to allocate millions of dollars in the 2023 fiscal year budget to make sure New York is ready to take on public health and safety challenges.