Health department prepares three-year plan

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The Union County Health Department (UCHD) discussed a draft of its strategic health plan for the next three-year plan cycle.
Health Commissioner Jason Orcena said the report given was a culmination of goals and strategies given by members of the board earlier this year and the state’s health improvement plan. He said some of the goals for the next three years for the state include reducing rates of infant mortality, abuse and addiction, and reducing premature and morbidity from heart disease and diabetes.
“Ohio has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the country,” he said. “Overall, infant mortality went up again in Ohio… and we have seen it related to obesity and pre-reproductive health conditions seems to be a bigger trend for a lot of these.”
He said some strategies that are outlined to prevent more infant mortality include recommending women to stop smoking, making smoke-free home environments, targeting obesity reduction measures, controlling teen pregnancy rates, reducing barriers to adult healthcare, improving vaccination rates and fixing existing failing systems.
He said, though Union County has a lower infant mortality rate than the state, the county’s number is still compared to the state’s numbers.
Orcena said what the board will do within the next three years includes increasing the number of vaccinations given, improving sexual education in schools, implementing more mental health screenings at schools and promoting its healthy food program.
However, he said funding these initiatives will be tough. He said getting money back from these programs is going to be difficult.
“Money is getting tight,” he said. “We have to continue being aggressive with finding ways to fund these programs.”
Orcena said that, while the state’s goals won’t align that well with the local strategic plan, this will pave the way for a smoother alignment for the 2020 to 2023 plan cycle.
Also at the meeting, the board approved of agreement contracts for 10 septic system designs for residents with funds from a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund grant. One plan is to not exceed $5,500 and another is to not exceed $7,750.
The board also accepted a grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety for traffic safety, in the amount of $35,000.



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