Plan Creates Roadmap to a Healthier Marion
A coordinated community effort is needed for a healthier Marion County, even more than additional medical facilities.
That is the conclusion of a team of more than 50 diverse community partners who developed the Marion County Community Health Improvement Plan.
Steering committee members presented the plan to a group of county leaders and community stakeholders during a Jan. 14 meeting at the United Way of Marion County. The plan addresses community health problems and provides a strategy for improvement. It follows research published in the Marion County Health Needs Assessment and the Robert Wood Johnson/University of Wisconsin County Health Rankings.
The Community Health Improvement Plan, or CHIP, was developed during a yearlong effort to address community health problems and provide a strategy for improvement.
Although studies consistently rank Marion County in the top 25 percent of Florida counties in the quality of health care available, the county ranks in the bottom 25 percent for other factors, such as chronic illnesses and deaths.
“Marion County has an excellent health care delivery system,” said Jeff Feller, CEO of WellFlorida Council and a member of the CHIP steering committee. “If you live in Marion County and get sick, you’re likely to have access to good medical care. This plan goes beyond improving medical care and charts a path to improving the health of the community.”
The CHIP focuses on mobilizing the community to improve the social determinants that often are the drivers in the health of a community. Social determinants are the social factors and conditions — income, education, employment, housing and others — that lead to healthy people and communities.
Goals and strategies in the CHIP will need the entire community — businesses, education, law enforcement, county and city governments as well as the health care industry — to work together. CHIP goals include creating community partnerships, considering health outcomes in agency plans, and creating a community that knows the effects personal and policy decisions have on health.
The next step in the plan is to gather a group of people from across the community, not just those in the health sector, to address the social determinants that affect health in Marion County. The CHIP calls for the group to be formed and functioning by May.
“This isn’t just a Health Department project,” Dr. Nathan Grossman, Marion County Health Department director, told the group. “No single organization owns this — the entire community owns this. Transforming the health of the residents of Marion County will happen as the entire community transforms itself to think of health as more than just health care.”
Community Health Improvement Plan
Marion County Technical Apprendix
Full Marion County Needs Assessment