Access to health care key for county

By Anthony Conchel - The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — Access to care was the discussion point during the quarterly Community Health Improvement Plan meeting Thursday morning.

“There are so many agencies involved in health — the hospital, law enforcement, drug and alcohol prevention, school. It’s our responsibility to be that hub,” said Pam Butler, health commissioner at Morrow County Health District.

The group’s four priorities were discussed:

• Decrease adult and youth obesity.

• Improve access to healthcare.

• Improve mental health.

• Decrease substance abuse.

Butler said the group is looking at what services are provided in the county and working to fill the voids.

The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is a roadmap and strategic plan for the community.

Members said being a rural community transportation is an issue for some, along with literacy.

Good pre-natal care and educating pregnant women about a healthy lifestyle is important.

Obesity: Work has been done by public schools to offer healthier choices. One challenge is making those options available at after-school evens like ball games.

Access: A regional transportation study has been completed.

Twenty-four hour access to help is a goal, said Deanna Brant, executive director at Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

A school-based health center also has been discussed.

Mental health: Re-establish a suicide prevention coalition in Morrow County. School counselors work to look for signs of depression or suicide in students.

Substance abuse: Programs like Parents Who Host Lose The Most and Hidden In Plain Sight, are under way under the umbrella of Drug & Alcohol Awareness & Prevention coalition.

“Hidden In Plain Sight did nine events last year and four so far this year with 52 people attending, said DAAP coordinator Ashley Glass.

The program is being presented at the four county schools.

“It takes all aspects within a community to improve quality of life. Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration gets it done,” Butler said.

The next CHIP meeting is 10 a.m. Thursday, June 14 in the Community Services Building, 619 W. Marion Road.

By Anthony Conchel

The Sentinel