Flagler climbs in state health rankings

The county has risen from 22nd to ninth, out of 67 counties in Florida, over three years.

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Over the past three years, Flagler County's overall health ranking in Florida has risen from 22nd to ninth out of 67 counties, Bob Snyder, the administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Flagler County, told the Palm Coast City Council at its June 18 meeting.

The Department of Health fulfills a number of functions (see sidebar at left), and, last year, affected 9,671 individuals and provided 158,000 services to county residents, Snyder said.

"We offer a very broad scope of services," he said.

One win: The infant mortality rate for African American women in Flagler has been zero for two years in a row. Snyder noted that that's not the case for Hispanic women.

"We do need to work on that," he said. "Overall, we're doing much better than the state average."

The Department of Health in Flagler County is also treating 100 people with HIV, and 98.5% of them have been reduce their levels to undetectable, "which is quite an accomplishment," Snyder said.

There's also a new program to help people learn about diabetes self-management. That program, free to users, began in January, and was created to help patients manage their illness more effectively, or avoid becoming diabetes patients in the first place.

The department also has a new radio show: Flagler Health Matters, on WNZF at 11:30 to noon on Saturdays.

Then there are the ongoing programs: The department has "probably one of the largest dental practices here in Flagler County," serving children on Medicaid and averaging about 40 patients a day, Snyder said. It also sealed the molars of 1,000 school children last year.

The department is monitoring sexually transmitted diseases — and especially chlamydia, which has increased statewide over recent years.

And it's preparing for potential disasters: The Department of Health in Flagler County runs the county's hurricane shelter for people with special medical needs. 

The department is now in the process of communicating with local hospitals and community leaders to put together a community health assessment and community health improvement plan.

"We quickly came to the determination that the priorities are probably going to be the same" as in previous recent years, Snyder said. 

Currently, those priorities are: Adult mental health, youth behavioral health, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, mothers and children under 5, and family and domestic violence, Snyder said.


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