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Florida Department of Health In Lee County Addresses County Health Rankings

By Diane Holm

March 27, 2015

Lee County, FL—The Florida Department of Health in Lee County recognizes the value in measuring health outcomes and is pleased that the sixth annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool confirms Lee County partnership efforts are improving access to clinical care and reducing preventable hospital stays. The tool, released today by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, highlights the many community factors that influence health and uses established data, much of which is available from the department at www.floridacharts.com.

“We are pleased to have strong partnerships through Healthy Lee, the Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition, the Human Services Information Network and the United Way working with us every day to improve the health of the community,” said Robert Palussek, DOH-Lee administrator. “The rankings show our Community Health Improvement Plan is targeting the areas of greatest need, and improvements are happening.”

These rankings are a snapshot of the health of counties across the country and they emphasize that health is not a singular effort but a combined work in progress across all community partners. The department works in collaboration with local governments, non-profit organizations, health care facilities, business groups, schools, faith-based organizations and many other stakeholders to improve the health of all people in Lee County. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

“Through partnerships and grants we have increased the access to mammography screening to place Lee well above the state average,” said Jorge Quinonez, MD, Family Health Centers of SW Florida executive vice president. “In addition, there are more physicians and more offices providing primary care, especially in the underserved populations.”

In the mental health field, more than a 15 percent improvement was shown in the ratio of providers to patients.

“Improvements in this area are the result of work being done in the local community, including the Healthy Lee initiative, that are keeping our business, governmental and healthcare communities focused on key areas such as mental health and substance abuse treatment needs,” said Kevin Lewis, SalusCare president. “We have much work to do, and SalusCare looks forward to being part of continued improvements in the upcoming years.”

“While many challenges still remain to be worked on, the Lee County community has formed strong collaborations to identify and implement solutions,” said Ann Arnall, Lee County Human Services director. “Lee County is committed to working to improve the quality of life and health opportunities for it citizens.”

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