Health Report Good, Bad Tri-State Ratings Mixed

Article excerpt

Vanderburgh County is one of the best counties in Indiana with respect to clinical care, but near the bottom in terms of how healthy people report feeling, according to a report released today. The results of a national health ranking study were mixed for Southwestern Indiana, poor for Southeastern Illinois and about average for Western Kentucky counties in the Tri-State.

The 2012 County Health Rankings, produced by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, showed Henderson County, Ky., is nearly last in terms of its physical environment and every county in Southeastern Illinois ranks in that state's last quartile.

"The County Health Rankings show us that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor's office," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in a statement.

The study, in its third year, ranks nearly every U.S. county and Washington, D.C., by their health outcomes, which are based on how long people live (mortality) and how healthy people feel (morbidity).

Health outcomes are influenced by several factors, and the study breaks them down into four categories: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment.

Gibson, Warrick and Dubios counties rank in the first quartile of Indiana's 92 counties, with Dubois County holding the No. 2 spot behind central Indiana's Hamilton County.

Dubois County has some of the best numbers in the state as it relates to morbidity, with 11 percent of its population reporting fair or poor health compared to 16 percent statewide.

Also, its Chlamydia rate stands at 68 per 100,000 people, compared to 349 statewide. The national benchmark is 86.

Posey, Vanderburgh and Pike counties rank 34th, 76th and 90th, respectively. With respect to the ratio of population to primary care physicians, Posey's ratio is 1,742:1 and Pike's ratio is 3,131:1. The state average is 889:1.

Vanderburgh County beats state averages in all of the "clinical care" categories - uninsured adults, preventable hospital stays, diabetic screening and mammography screening. Its numbers here give it fourth place in the "clinical care" category behind Hamilton, Warrick and Boone counties, in descending order. …