The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Annual Report: Health & Public Service

March 29, 2010

Madison County receives health wake-up call

Locals face higher rate of mortality than national average

ANDERSON, Ind. — The wake-up call went out Jan. 26.

The Madison County Community Health Center had invited Indiana Deputy Health Commissioner Loren Robertson to speak during its Ninth Annual State of Health Breakfast at Anderson Country Club in January. His speech was chilling.

His message: Madison County residents can expect a shorter lifespan than those living elsewhere in Indiana and throughout the United States.

“Madison County faces a higher death rate than the national average and a shorter lifespan than the rest of the country,” Robertson said, citing 2006 mortality statistics in a slide show presentation. “And that’s a difficult slide to put your arms around. We have a lot of work to do in Indiana and Madison County.”

In Anderson, the population is served by two hospitals Community Hospital and Saint John’s Medical Center. Both are developing innovative services and facilities to better serve the needs of its diverse clientele.

But if the national debate is any indication, the prohibitive cost of health care is keeping many people away from preventative care in exam rooms until they require immediate care in emergency rooms. That’s where the Madison County Community Health Center has proven valuable. With locations in Anderson and Elwood, it offers health services on a sliding scale based on income.

Crews continue to work on a $6 million expansion project at the Community Health Center in Anderson. It will add 25 exam rooms, 12 dental screening rooms and 12 optical screening rooms to better serve the uninsured and under-insured in Madison County.

The clinic already serves 13,525 people annually, including 12.6 percent of the county’s population over 65. A northern office in Elwood has served 16,700 patients since 2001.

“We’re encouraging behavioral health, we have a psychologist on staff from Ball State University,” said Anthony Malone, director of the Community Health Center. “That’s the kind of provider mentality that helps me get up in the morning and go to work and stay late.”

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Annual Report: Health & Public Service
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