PHEP Operational Readiness Review


CDC’s Operational Readiness Review (ORR) is a rigorous, evidence-based assessment that evaluates state, local, and territorial planning and operational functions. used to evaluate PHEP program planning and operational functions. Informed by more than 200 CDC and field-based subject matter experts, the ORR:

  • Documents gaps, strengths, and promising practices; and
  • Identifies opportunities for CDC technical assistance.

CDC established the ORR process in 2012 and introduced the ORR tool in 2014 to evaluate a jurisdiction’s ability to execute a large response requiring MCM distribution and dispensing, ensuring life-saving medicines and supplies can reach the right people at the right time.

Following an initial ORR pilot in 2014, CDC and Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program recipients conducted two national reviews of MCM operational readiness in 2015-2016 and in 2017-2019 to identify strengths and improvements. All 62 PHEP recipients and more than 400 local planning jurisdictions that receive Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) funding participated in the ORR process.

DSLR ORR infographic jurisdictions

In 2018, CDC published the first update of its public health preparedness capabilities. The Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Capabilities: National Standards for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Public Health reflects the maturity and experience jurisdictional public health emergency preparedness and response programs have gained since 2011. The capability standards describe the components necessary to advance jurisdictional public health preparedness and response capacity. They also provide the framework for state, local, tribal, and territorial preparedness programs as they plan, operationalize, and evaluate their ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies.

Following the release of the updated capability standards, CDC expanded its ORR evaluation from an MCM focus to an all-hazards readiness assessment across all 15 preparedness and response capabilities. As the primary evaluation tool for the PHEP program, the ORR not only evaluates levels of readiness but also incorporates lessons learned from previous emergency responses to ensure continuous program improvement.

CDC’s PHEP ORR guidance is based on the CDC preparedness and response capability standards and is organized into three sections:

  • descriptive and demographic elements,
  • planning elements, and
  • operations elements.

To improve ORR and other public health emergency preparedness data collection, CDC developed the PHEP ORR Reporting and Tracking System (PORTS). This is a tool for collecting, storing, analyzing, and reporting public health preparedness data. In April 2022, recipients began submitting ORR data through PORTS.

CDC Operational Readiness Review Timeline

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