A few weeks ago, our Director of Community Health and Wellness, Nancy Forlifer, made a presentation to our board as to the progress that our community has made related to improvements in a number of health status related areas. Between 2011 and 2012, Allegany County has made improvements in high school graduation rates, less children in single-parent households, less adults smoking, motor vehicle crash deaths, sexually transmitted diseases, preventable hospital days and a reduction in the teen birth rate. We are still one of the three worst locations in Maryland for Behavioral Health related visits to the Emergency Department. Those joining Allegany County are Baltimore City and Dorchester County on the eastern shore of Maryland.
It is important to note that our priorities for Allegany County continue to be tobacco cessation (especially with pregnant women), obesity, behavioral health, access to care, substance abuse, heart disease, health literacy, prenatal care, dental care, cancer care, flu shots and screening for Diabetes. One fact that Nancy shared that got everyone's attention was in Allegany County, if 5% more people attended some college and 5% more people had an income higher than twice the poverty level, we could save 24 lives, prevent 372 cases of Diabetes and eliminate $2.7 million in Diabetes costs every year. Socioeconomic factors and health status are amazingly linked. If socioeconomic status in a region improves so does their health status.