Hancock County Aims to be State's Healthiest

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Hancock Regional Health has launched an effort with the lofty goal of creating the "healthiest county in Indiana." Chief Executive Officer Steve Long says the healthy county initiative, based on a Mayo Clinic model, will focus on moving “outside the traditional role of the hospital” to focus more on prevention and wellness than treatment of disease. He says the hospital will work with businesses, churches and nonprofits to reach people “where they are” and address factors that contribute to chronic disease, including lifestyle, socioeconomic status and physical environment.

Long says, over the course of the last century, life expectancy has approximately doubled thanks to advances in vaccines, sanitation and clean water. He says, instead of contagious disease, more people now die from chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Hancock Regional has hired a community health coordinator to reach out organizations throughout the region to educate people on prevention and wellness.

In addition to being a health benefit, Long says the effort is an economic driver for Hancock County. He says company health care costs can be $1,700 higher for an employee who has a chronic disease. In addition, Long says people want to live and work in a healthy community.

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