The third in a series of four public forums on the topic of the quality of health services in Starke County was held last night at the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center in Knox. Commissioner Jennifer Davis hosted the forum, which she said was aimed at gathering input on the direction the county needs to take in order to provide quality healthcare.
Starke County ranked 88th out of the 92 Hoosier counties in health outcomes, as explained by a representative of JRB Healthcare Advisors. He explained the county is also 91st of the 92 counties in mortality and 61st for morbidity, and ranking 90th in health factors and 91st in health behaviors.
He explained the current health priorities for the county include lack of primary care, access to healthcare, obesity and diabetes, preventative healthcare and wellness, and emergency and ambulatory services.
Davis said this topic is particularly important at this time due to the fact that the lease for IU Health Starke Hospital will be up for renegotiation in 2016.
The audience offered their ideas as well, the most common suggestion being improved transportation. One woman said transportation and the need to go out of the county for some procedures is a concern, and others suggested that the hospital should offer better, more competitively priced services.
Davis said the information gathered would be compiled and brought back to the community in spring 2014, following fact-finding and analysis, investigation into medical and clinical manpower needs, and a complete county health services analysis.
The next public health forum will be held tonight at the Oregon-Davis High School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m.