Richmond, Burke counties continue to have poor health rankings

Columbia County edges up to 7th best in Georgia

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 12:30 AM
Last updated 1:49 AM
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Richmond County got a little worse, Columbia County got a little better and Burke County remained near the bottom in an annual health ranking of counties released today.

In the 2012 County Health Rankings, Richmond County slipped from 104th to 117th in Georgia, Columbia County improved from eighth to seventh and Burke County slipped three spots to rank 151st out of 156 counties ranked; data were not included for three counties.

The data for more than 3,000 counties nationwide ranked by state have been compiled for the past three years as a joint project by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of
Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

They take data from a variety of sources and rank counties by health outcomes such as premature death, health behaviors such as obesity and smoking, access to care and socioeconomic factors such as children living in poverty.

“All of these things taken together really do affect how healthy we are and how long we can live,” said Angela Russell, an associate researcher for the Population Health Institute.

Richmond County fared poorly in a number of areas, from higher rates of obesity, smoking and sexually transmitted diseases to lower rates of high school graduation and a high percentage of children living in poverty.

On the bright side, the Augusta area beat the
national average in primary care physicians, Russell said.

“Richmond is doing particularly well, and quite frankly in the top of the nation, in terms of access to primary care physicians,” she said.

But that is not resulting in better health outcomes.

“That’s what the whole county health rankings is telling us, that good health is more than just access to a health care provider,” she said. “There’s more to the picture in terms of creating good health.”

There are a number of initiatives under way in Augusta to address these problems. Some community groups are getting funding to battle teen pregnancy, the Breathe Easy Coalition will work on another attempt to
pass a tougher smoking ordinance, and University Hospital and Christ Community Health Services are working on disease management for chronic conditions, East Central Health District Director Ketty Gonzalez said.

“The question is, do we have a uniform plan or a road map? I don’t think that we do, as a community,” she said. “But I have to give credit to all of the different groups in the community that are working, addressing one problem at a time.”

To make change, it does help to have everyone working together toward a common goal, Russell said. And it will take patience.

“One thing I will tell folks is, change takes time,” she said. “Change does take time, especially when you are facing something like you are facing (in Richmond
County) with sexually transmitted infections and a teen birth rate, which are pretty high.”

Staff Writer Sandy Hodson contributed to this article.

Comments (21) Add comment
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seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 06:18 am
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Yes I believe all of the

Yes I believe all of the factors mentioned make a difference....poor neighborhoods....school drop outs...poor food selections.....but something else matters too.....& I wish we had a clear picture of this....

How many MORE cancer deaths are reported in South Richmond county & Burke county??
Could we get a CORRECT report on the stats on THAT?

Do we have problems with the water......I have reasons for asking these questions.....scary & yes I have had kin living in these areas....

seenitB4
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 06:39 am
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Burke county slipped 3

Burke county slipped 3 spots....really....how can we blame the people for all of this....
Some country folks grow their own gardens---that is usually very healthy--right??

Just a suggestion....check your soil & water.......find out what chemicals are in there.....do this for the safety of your family.....we need power plants---they have to go somewhere......but pls protect yourself .........we need chemical plants too......just saying.....too many people are dying of cancer....too many YOUNG people.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 06:55 am
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http://ga.water.usgs.gov/proj

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/projects/savannahriver/

Look at this map....the water flows south of the plant...read this article.

Riverman1
82254
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Riverman1 04/03/12 - 07:26 am
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SeenIt, interesting

SeenIt, interesting hypothesis, but I believe it goes back to the socioeconomics. Where more people smoke, drink and have bad diets, cancer and other diseases are more prevalent.

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 07:31 am
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RM....My mother didn't smoke

RM....My mother didn't smoke or drink....she lived on Heph McBean rd many years in later life.....she was the ONLY 1 of 5 daughters to have cancer...the only 1....usafvet lived in south Richmond county---cal lived in south ga.....I know from personal knowledge some with health problems in certain areas.....all I'm saying is ...GIVE US A TRUE REPORT......it can be done.

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 07:43 am
1
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Anyway...have a glass of

Anyway...have a glass of water--it came from lower Sav river area...kinda reminds me of Erin B in that movie...heh

http://www.brockovich.com/index.html

This is what ya need .....have her ck ....:)

Riverman1
82254
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Riverman1 04/03/12 - 07:57 am
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SeenIt, I'm sure you are

SeenIt, I'm sure you are trying hard to find an answer to why your mother and friends developed cancer, but there are other factors that I've metioned also positively related.

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 08:02 am
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River....You are VERY smart

River....You are VERY smart on here...I have said that B4.....BUT that isn't what I'm looking for right now.....there are some theeengs you don't know (gasp) take a deep breath pls...there have been records kept by "some" stating just what I'm saying is true....
Anyway...what is wrong with finding the true FACTS as I have stated.....don't make me come after you....as I know where ya live..:):)

Riverman1
82254
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Riverman1 04/03/12 - 08:07 am
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Ok, SeenIt. I understand you

Ok, SeenIt. I understand you want certain matters discussed. I'll leave it alone. Good luck. Who knows something worthwhile may come of it.

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 08:15 am
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Tom Corwin wrote: On the

Tom Corwin wrote:

On the bright side, the Augusta area beat the national average in primary care physicians, Russell said. “Richmond is doing particularly well, and quite frankly in the top of the nation, in terms of access to primary care physicians,” she said. But that is not resulting in better health outcomes.

Yes, it is in the interest of the health care industry for you to get sick, get better temporarily, and then to get sick again, over and over. That is their business plan, and they are executing it quite well.

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 08:15 am
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Thank you....you do know me

Thank you....you do know me --heheh

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 08:17 am
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LLamb....how does it feel to

LLamb....how does it feel to be thumped all day long???

You are welcome..:)

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 08:18 am
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Regarding Augusta's drinking

Regarding Augusta's drinking water, which comes from the Savannah River downstream of Columbia County's Reed Creek sewage plant (where there was a recent murder over a load of sewage sludge) — you might be doing yourself more harm by drinking bottled water. You see, the water dissolves chemicals from the plastic bottle that have been linked to all kinds of diseases, including cancer.

Little Lamb
45282
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 08:19 am
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Well, I'm glad it's a thumbs

Well, I'm glad it's a thumbs up from you, SeenIt. I thumped you one back.

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 08:25 am
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Ok LL...I get that about

Ok LL...I get that about plastic bottles....but what is the answer.....my grandmama went to Windsor Springs in Richmond county (many years ago) & collected the wonderful tasting spring water from the well there....even as a child I could taste the difference & loved it.....her sisters believed in good health---they grew their own veggies--had eggs fron their chicks...& had a smoke house to cure their meat.....some fruit trees also......we need that kind of food again...imo

proud2bamerican
441
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proud2bamerican 04/03/12 - 10:33 am
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Not all water in Richmond

Not all water in Richmond County comes from the lower Savannah River. There is also an underground aquifer that feeds water to Richmond County too - some of the best. I haven't had health insurance in over five years and do not take government subsidies of any kind. I do make it a point to eat better, exercise and make healthy choices i.e. no smoking, heavy drinking or drugs. When I say eat better I do not mean that I spend more either; I choose to spend what I have on juice and foods other than twinkies and bologna. Most are capable of taking care of themselves - it is a choice.

proud2bamerican
441
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proud2bamerican 04/03/12 - 10:33 am
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d

d

Tom Corwin
9225
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Tom Corwin 04/03/12 - 10:54 am
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SeenitB4, I am not sure if

SeenitB4,

I am not sure if this link will work but here is a map of cancer incidence for Richmond County by Census tract for the years 2002-2004, which is the latest data by Census tract available from the Georgia Department of Public Health:

https://apps.itos.uga.edu/DPHGIS/DPHGISQueryMap.aspx?infotype=C

In case it doesn't come through, I can tell that there is a high incidence of cancer in south Augusta west of Deans Bridge Road and east of Peach Orchard Road. But there are also pockets in south Augusta that have low rates of cancer incidence. There are also pockets in west Augusta that have a high cancer incidence. Looking at the map, I am not sure you can say this area or that area is really worse. As others have said, there often is no discernible reason for why one person got cancer and not another. The physical environment is probably just one factor. If you want to look at more data, send me an email and I can show you where to look.

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 11:13 am
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Thank you Tom....& I will do

Thank you Tom....& I will do just that....I pulled up the map but couldn't see everything I needed..
But watch out...once you get on my email list....:):)

Clean Water
11
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Clean Water 04/03/12 - 03:00 pm
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Region IV EPA was supposed to

Region IV EPA was supposed to have started a Clean Up of the Peach Orchard PCE Groundwater Plume Site. The Plume site is in Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia. PCE is a dangerous chemical utilized by some drycleaners. PCE has been identified as a carcinogen. It can caused cancer and other illnesses. PCE can penetrate metal and concrete. The contamination was first detected in one of the City’s wells in June 1996, during routine sampling of municipal well water. The City permanently closed one well in October 1999, and took four additional wells off-line in May 2001. I wonder when or if Region 1V EPA will have another public meeting about the cleanup. I wonder how far the chemical has gone and how many people it has affected.

Sherman J
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Sherman J 04/03/12 - 02:50 pm
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Tom - thank you for keeping

Tom - thank you for keeping healthcare central to Augusta news. In today's article in relation to "Access to Primary Care Physicians" there are many areas such as the ones cited in the 2010 Dartmouth research below that substantiate the fact that more primary care physicians in any given area does not necessarily mean access to primary care for many. With so much poverty Richmond county, even with a high existence of primary care physicians, many of them must look toward the safety net of primary care providers to avoid financial barriers and for that number, Richmond county would certainly not rank high, as you know many of us all to well.
"A commonly cited reason for the wide variation in access to primary care is a shortage of clinicians (particularly physicians). This may contribute to the problem in some locations, but the findings in this Atlas suggest that there is no simple relationship between the supply of physicians and access to primary care. In some regions, the overall supply of primary care physicians was low, yet a relatively high
proportion of beneficiaries had at least one annual visit, while in other regions with a higher supply of primary care physicians, fewer beneficiaries had a primary care visit. One aspect of physician supply did make a difference; beneficiaries living in regions that had more family physicians were more likely to have at least one annual primary care visit."
Source: http://www.dartmouthatlas.org/downloads/reports/Primary_care_report_0909...

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