By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald
In health rankings released last week, Daviess County ranks in the middle, 58th, of all 92 counties in Indiana.
The rankings, released by the state Department of Health shows Daviess has a better ranking than its neighbors, but there is a ways to go.
"We have a lot of room to improve," Daviess County Health Nurse Kathy Sullender said. "The (county) health board meets this month and we are going to talk about the rankings and how to improve." The closest neighbor to Daviess County in terms of rankings was Pike County, ranked 64th. Greene County was next at 70, Martin at 71st and Knox County was 78th. Dubois County was fourth.
Daviess County ranked fairly high in terms of social and economic factors, like graduation rates and low unemployment rates. The county also was low with the amount of children in single-parent households and violent crime rate. Daviess County usually hovers around 6 percent unemployment.
Statewide, that number is 8.7 percent.
Where Daviess County lacks is clinical care. The county ranks 82nd in the state in this part of the health rankings, which gives statistics on health care providers in the area.
The state average for uninsured adults in Indiana counties is 17 percent.
According to the statistics, Daviess County has 21 percent of its adults without health insurance.
The county also ranks low in the amount of doctors and dentists. For every
2,884 people in the county, there is a primary care physician. The number is even higher for dentists, 4,038 to 1. To compare, the state average is 1,557 for 1 physician and 2,165 for every 1 dentist.
The county also ranks low in the number of people who have been screened for diabetes and have had mammograms.
Daviess also ranked low in 27 percent of the population in poor or fair health. Statewide average was 16 percent.
But other numbers in the health ranking were near the state averages, including adult smoking rate (25 percent), adult obesity (33 percent), teen birth rate (47 pregnancies) and infant and child mortality.
"I guess the things I was disheartened by was smoking and obesity," Sullender said. "We have a great area to improve there." The rankings can be found on the web at www.countyhealthrankings.org