Virginia Again Recognized as a Top State in the 2021 National Health Security Preparedness Index Amid the Continuing COVID-19 Pandemic

October 6, 2021

Commonwealth is Tied for First Among States in New National Report that Measures State Readiness to Respond to Public Health Threats; Virginia is Consistently Rated a Top Performing State in Similar Reports Assessing Emergency Planning and Preparation

RICHMOND, VA – The COVID-19 pandemic has been a real-world stress test of the readiness of Virginia governmental, health care delivery, and emergency management systems to respond to a major public health threat. Throughout this time, Virginia’s hospitals, public health and emergency management agencies, and other public and private sector stakeholders have effectively navigated this unprecedented crisis while facing many pandemic-related challenges.

Positive affirmation of this can be found in the recently released 2021 National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI) that again lists Virginia as one of the states best prepared to respond to public health emergencies. Virginia is tied for first among states in the latest version of the annual index compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the University of Colorado School of Public Health, and the University of Kentucky Center for Business and Economic Research.

Virginia is one of four states that earned a score of 7.4 on a 10-point scale, representing the top mark among states alongside Maryland, Massachusetts, and Nebraska. The national average is 6.8. Last year, Virginia also ranked as one of the top states in the NHSPI report. Virginia has also been listed among the highest performing states in the Trust for America’s Health Ready or Not: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism annual report in each of the past two years.

“Our hospital and health system members and their teams of dedicated caregivers and support personnel have been tested like never before while treating patients and protecting public health from the moment the COVID-19 pandemic reached Virginia in March 2020,” said Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “They have responded to this unprecedented global health emergency with skill, determination, and great courage. In the process, they have participated in a large-scale response effort that includes providing direct care to nearly 70,000 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 who were later discharged, administering more than 2 million vaccine doses, and much more. Virginia’s ranking as a top state for public health emergency readiness is a testament to the work of many people and organizations, including our hospitals and their employees.”

The NHSPI is a national tool that measures existing capabilities to protect the public from the health consequences of disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and other large-scale hazardous events. Its assessments are based on data drawn data from 64 sources and it represents one of the most comprehensive evaluations of state-by-state emergency preparedness infrastructure. The NHSPI assessment methodology incorporates several years of data to measure state performance across six domains: health security surveillance, community planning and engagement, incident and information management, healthcare delivery, countermeasure management, and environmental and occupational health.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 25 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its mission is to achieve excellence in both health care and health to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Its vision is through collaboration with members and stakeholders, to ensure the sustainability of Virginia health care system, transform the delivery of care to promote lower costs and high value across the continuum of care, and to improve health for all Virginians. Connect with VHHA through FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedIn, and Instagram.


Julian Walker
Vice President of Communications
(804) 297-3193 office
(804) 304-7402 mobile