4/26/2019 10:49:00 AM County ranking in national health analysis dips
When it comes to the annual county Health Rankings, a seven-year-old standardized tool for assessing the overall health of a specific population-- the lower your county’s ranking number the better.
Chisago County’s number for 2018 is on the increase, though, after seeing improvements a few years before.
In 2017 the overall rank for Chisago out of 87 counties in Minnesota, was 20th from the top.
For 2018 Chisago County health factors and statistical evidence dropped it to 36th. (Carver and Washington counties hold number one and number two rankings. Mahnomen and Cass counties are ranked at the bottom) Surrounding counties are: Anoka at 23rd, Isanti is 43, Pine is 79th and Mille Lacs county was ranked 78.
For Chisago County not just the overall composite rank has worsened.
Chisago County behaviors are not getting better: level of smoking, tobacco use, physical activity, alcohol consumption, those considered obese, even the numbers related to driving alone on long commutes are staying level or worsening.
One of the few improved conditions counted in the Chisago County Health Ranking analysis is the physical environment.
Drinking water and air quality were better in Chisago County in 2018 compared to 2017. The Physical Environment ranking went took Chisago to 77th up from 83rd in 2017.
Teen Births have also declined pretty steadily. In Chisago County the actual number was 17 in 2017 and this dropped in 2018 to 14. There were 24 annual teen births reported when the rankings system began in 2011. Socio-Economic Factors such as percentage of children in poverty, high school graduates and related educational statistics have stayed constant or slightly improved. The excessive drinkers as a percentage of the county population, however, is higher than the state average, 23 versus 21 percent. And, it also may be due to having two main highways inside of Chisago County, that the measurement of deaths attributed to impaired driving is also higher than the state norm.
Access to health care is a measurement and the ratio of doctors and dentists to a county population is also calculated. Chisago County has fewer healthcare professionals (and people getting vaccinated for flu) per capita, than the state average. The “length of life” numbers also left Chisago County in a lower ranking. This is a calculation of years of life lost before age 75, and in 2017 Chisago County ranked 17th. In 2018 it was 28th in the state. The percentage of the county population that is uninsured has steeply declined since 2011 in all counties. Chisago County had 12 percent of its population uninsured in 2011, and last year this was four percent. There is a webinar April 23 all about the rankings and how the information can be put to use. The website is countyhealthrankings.org.
Ranking systems were developed and introduced by healthcare professionals and public health officials selected to work with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.
The Chisago County Board last week accepted a plan presented by Community Health Services Administrator Courtney Wehrenberg. The strategic planning process meets state mandates.
Planning began in May 2018. The paperwork explains that mostly the process involved health department structural and organizatuional goals. A team came together that will meet quarterly, Wehrenberg explained.
The Community Health Improvement Plan will be the map where the department will align activities and programs. This outline is meant to be a reference the county uses to measure its progress and outcomes to the end of 2021.