Health Care

More | | | Editor

Augusta area fares poorly in health review

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:30 AM
Last updated 5:53 AM
  • Follow Latest News

While healthier counties in Georgia continue to thrive, poorer rural counties such as those in the Augusta area struggle to overcome problems related to systemic ills including poverty and single-parent families, a new review of county health reveals.

RELATED LINKS

The 2014 County Health Rank­ings were released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute. With now five years of data to look through, certain trends are emerging that do not spell good news for those who have performed poorly in the past, said Jan O’Neill, a community coach with the Public Health Institute.

“People in the least healthy counties are twice as likely to have shorter lives as people in the healthiest,” she said. “And there are twice as many children living in poverty (than) in the least healthy counties.”

Some statistics point to more systemic problems, such as teen birth rates. For Georgia, it is 48 per 1,000 births. For healthier Columbia County it is 26, but for Richmond County it is 63, for McDuffie County it is 70 and for Burke County it is 72, O’Neill said.

“And of course that’s related to poverty, children in poverty, employability, education,” she said. “They are all wrapped together.”

And those teen mothers could be part of a larger problem.

Richmond County was last among counties in a category called Family and Social Support, which looked at the percent of adults without social or emotional support and the percentage of children living in single-parent households. Often those problems are combined, especially in Augusta, said Dr. Lucy Marion, the dean of the College of Nursing at Georgia Regents University and a founding member of the Greater Augusta Healthcare Network.

“I think that included the young single moms that are isolated and they are there with the baby but they are not within that protective family,” she said. “The young single moms who are living with the grandmother parenting and the young single moms going back to school, that’s a very different group from those who are isolated. We have a fair number of those (isolated ones).”

Marion said there have been efforts to try and help bring together people, including the isolated elderly, with things such as community gardens and other activities, but they were not funded.

While there are often multiple coalitions within communities trying to address problems, a larger, more coordinated effort is needed, O’Neill said. Some communities are using a model program called Collective Impact, which seeks to bring together agencies in multiple fields around a common agenda whose actions are more coordinated and reinforcing, she said. And it can’t just be the usual suspects, O’Neill said.

“It’s obviously not just doctors and hospitals,” she said. “It’s going to be the people who teach in our schools, those who pass the laws and policies, our business owners, our parents and families raising children. It’s all those folks, it’s community planners, public health, all will have to get involved and get engaged.”

That could be why both Rich­mond and Columbia counties rank very high in access, and surrounding counties to varying degrees, but seem to do much more poorly on quality of care and on health outcomes. Social and economic factors can have twice as much weight as the clinical in determining length and quality of life, O’Neill said. And those are what have to be addressed.

“It requires systems change and policy change,” she said. “A lot of times people throw a lot of programs at these things and that’s necessary, but it is not sufficient and can actually work against people because it pulls resources from a more coherent strategy.”

While there are some early intervention programs in Augusta and those can be helpful, it is not being addressed in a systematic way yet, Marion said.

“I don’t see that,” she said. “But that’s our opportunity to do that.”

2014 COUNTY HEALTH RANKINGS

The number shown in each column is the county’s rank within Georgia’s 159 counties:

CountyTobacco useDiet and exerciseAlcohol
and drug use
Sexual activityAccess to careQuality of careHousing
and transit
Burke1150951416982141
Columbia20782624541
Jefferson18151151134818548
Jenkins62945013312512771
Lincoln15913313825128132150
McDuffie12688134125388370
Richmond11911213714069479
Taliaferro62157286157101155
Warren6215213610352460
CountyEducationEmploymentIncomeFamily and
social support
Community
safety
Air and water
quality
Burke1281301481261596
Columbia68414468
Jefferson1011501331307774
Jenkins1121571521399955
Lincoln77946012711981
McDuffie578810812412173
Richmond1089714215912962
Taliaferro14110814311213582
Warren11315613412214475

Sources: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute

Comments (47) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
whozit
147
Points
whozit 03/26/14 - 01:34 am
5
4
There it is

If any of these numbers surprise you, you've not been paying attention. The answers do not really rely on Republican vs Democrat. The problem is those who are afraid someone may be getting something for nothing, all the while not realizing in the end it will affect them. Companies look at data like this before moving to an area, meaning lost jobs.

grinder48
1901
Points
grinder48 03/26/14 - 03:35 am
0
1
Moral Decay
Unpublished

The data, especially that about teen pregnancy, is yet another confirmation of the moral decay of our country. That moral decay has been caused by many factors. High on that list are the entertainment and advertisement industries producing filth while hiding behind free speech. Sad.

RunnerDoc
62
Points
RunnerDoc 03/26/14 - 06:10 am
10
1
Where are the families

These numbers underscore a major problem in urban America today - the degradation of the family unit and the problems that result. There are too many men out there that have multiple "baby mamas" that do not support their children and mothers of their children. There are many statistics to show that a strong family unit results in more stability, better health, more well adjusted children, stronger economy - it is time that something was done to hold people accountable for the children that they create - it is time to man up and be a father!

nocnoc
41451
Points
nocnoc 03/26/14 - 06:34 am
10
3
Don't tell me no one saw this coming.

Obviously 5 generations of UNCLE SAM trying out the Great Society experiment has NOT Worked. An we have another example of its failure.

It seemed so easy for Uncle Sam and the Socialist leaning Liberals.
Just use lots of other peoples $$$$ to replaced the need for a 2 parent REAL FAMILY household with a Father and Mother. Just use Uncle Sam as the family leader. Let Uncle Sam see to the clothing, feeding, and very basic education of the offspring with little or NO accountability.

Well Uncle Sam has failed as a Family Mgr. and has undermined its
own foundation.

The only area it has been successful is in producing a lot of new dependents, and barely employable workers for business fodder.

This is not how to build a country, it is however, how to tear one down slowly over generations.

peace4784
115
Points
peace4784 03/26/14 - 06:40 am
1
0
Just confirmation local
Unpublished

Just confirmation local churches are impotent. Members of all races are selfish, greedy, sexually promiscuous, worldly hypocrites. Resources knowledge and finances are unequally shared to uplift those who need assistance. The mayor supports the gay life style which is contrary to emotional and physical health. There are several hundred churches, mosques, and synagogues and this is the best Richmond county can do. It's an indictment against every adult and leader. Point finger at adult standing in the mirror, including Austin Rhodes.

Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 03/26/14 - 06:42 am
6
2
Chart Has To Be Wrong

Someone help me out here. Isn't the chart off? It has Burke County ranked number 1 in what I assume is less tobacco use. It has Columbia County number 20 and Richmond 126. Burke County has fewer tobacco users than any other county in the state? Jefferson County number 18? I don't buy it.

Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 03/26/14 - 07:12 am
7
2
Columbia County Better Put Viagra in Water

And what's up with ranking Columbia County low in sexual activity? Heh. Do we need Viagra in the drinking water or something?

seenitB4
85822
Points
seenitB4 03/26/14 - 07:24 am
5
3
Factory Jobs

What some are missing are J O B S...these small counties had many factory jobs that have gone away...counties like Burke-McDuffie-etc depended on these medium paying checks every week.

One day we will realize the damage we have done to our rural neighbors...we can't expect them to climb out of poverty on Hamburger & Wallyworld jobs...now can we??

corgimom
31480
Points
corgimom 03/26/14 - 07:33 am
3
8
CC is looking better and

CC is looking better and better all the time, you know?

NocNoc, if the government is responsible for the family breakdown- which they aren't, by the way- how is it that CC is so much higher than Richmond, when they are right next to each other?

You can't fix stupid, and until people wake up and stop glamorizing young sexual activity, stop the idea that conceiving children as a teenager is ok, eliminate the idea that having children that you don't support is ok. this problem will continue.

raul
4660
Points
raul 03/26/14 - 08:17 am
6
2
@Riverman. ColCo. is low on

@Riverman. ColCo. is low on sexual activity, cause they are too busy running for the money. Heh, heh.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 03/26/14 - 08:25 am
5
6
"You can't fix
Unpublished

"You can't fix stupid"
corgimom, I agree 100%. Until people wake up and realize what the Great Society, democrats, liberals and black leaders have done to this country things are only going to get worse.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 03/26/14 - 08:38 am
6
4
"@Riverman. ColCo. is low on
Unpublished

"@Riverman. ColCo. is low on sexual activity, cause they are too busy running for the money. Heh, heh."
@raul, it is most likely because they working instead of laying around like the deadbeats in RC. Heh, heh

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 03/26/14 - 08:55 am
1
0
Propaganda for the ACA impending deadline. AP story reprinted.
Unpublished

Propaganda for the ACA impending deadline. AP story reprinted.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 03/26/14 - 08:56 am
1
0
Who did they survey? How many did they survey? Where?
Unpublished

Who did they survey? How many did they survey? Where?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 03/26/14 - 08:56 am
1
0
Hey, this supports the need for a hospital in CC. Who knew?
Unpublished

Hey, this supports the need for a hospital in CC. Who knew?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 03/26/14 - 08:57 am
1
0
All of those emergencies going to GRU will come to CC. LOL
Unpublished

All of those emergencies going to GRU will come to CC. LOL

deestafford
26620
Points
deestafford 03/26/14 - 09:13 am
8
3
Let's quit beating around the bush and lay it out in the open...

Let's quit beating around the bush and lay it out in the open with the bark off.

It's the black culture (not the black people) that is dragging down the statistics and indicators. Look at nearly all the statistics where the black culture is predominate and you will see they trend negative...education, out of wedlock births, obesity, addiction, crime, unhealthy life style and the list goes on.

Take an intact black family in which both parents finished school got a job, got married and had children in that sequence and you find their statistical analysis is the same as that of a white family.

As far as community gardens and lack of money is concerned, how costly is a package of seeds? It's lack of drive, desire, and sense of security that prevents people from starting community gardens. The old saying, "Where there's a will, there's a way" works wonders when someone really wants something. There should be many community gardens in East Augusta if the people there had the will to do rather than talk and wait for the gravy train to come by.

redfish
590
Points
redfish 03/26/14 - 09:23 am
5
1
Some numbers look bogus to me...

How can Columbia county have better "access to care" and "quality of care" when there isn't even a hospital in Columbia county? Where do they think people in Columbia county go when they need care? Also, in "housing and transit" Columbia county is ranked higher than Richmond and Columbia county has no public transportation and no low income housing I am aware of. The employment number is a useless statistic as well. Columbia county is ranked 8th in the state, yet there are very few actual jobs in Columbia county. Maybe a large number of the unemployed in Richmond, McDuffie and Lincoln counties should move to Columbia county where all the jobs are? They could take advantage of the abundant housing, transit and high level of and quality of care as well. They would be much better educated, their incomes would skyrocket and they would have much better family and social support.

The rankings are very simple to decipher. The higher the percentage of black people, the lower the county ranking.

lgr
191
Points
lgr 03/26/14 - 09:42 am
4
1
low income housing

columbia has lots of section 8 housing, just look around. just because they do not have a "project" does not mean they do not have public housing. remember the big stink about the housing they built off bastion road?

burninater
9416
Points
burninater 03/26/14 - 10:00 am
7
5
"The rankings are very simple

"The rankings are very simple to decipher. The higher the percentage of black people, the lower the county ranking."
------
People were brought up to think this way, but that still really isn't any excuse.

I guarantee that any majority black WEALTHY county in this country will score almost identical to a majority white WEALTHY county in this country.

The issue is poverty. Now, if you want to talk about why poverty more often hits the black community in the South than the white community in the South, fine.

But make sure you don't leave out of the discussion the disgusting history of an attitude that can just flippantly say "oh, it's obviously because of the color of a person's skin". That's a major part of the story of the distribution of prosperity in the South.

Young Fred
16807
Points
Young Fred 03/26/14 - 09:57 am
5
3
Facts are facts...

...neither mean nor racist! DeeStafford lays it out!

Observe how certain leaders address the problem, and you'll observe who really cares and who merely wish to advance their own career!

Sometimes, doing what we must to better society involves unpleasantness. Many times those in leadership positions are self-interested or have neither the spine nor 'nads, to do what is needed.

burninater
9416
Points
burninater 03/26/14 - 10:05 am
5
8
"Facts are

"Facts are facts...
...neither mean nor racist! DeeStafford lays it out!"
-----
No, s/he doesn't. Dee does what is so often done -- cherry picks the data from areas of high poverty and then points to skin color -- or, excuse me, "skin culture" -- as the root cause.

Wealthy black communities do not have the negative indicators dee trumpets on here. If "blackness" of skin -- or culture -- were the foundational issue, these problems would not disappear in wealthy black communities.

dichotomy
32175
Points
dichotomy 03/26/14 - 10:09 am
6
2
"The problem is those who are

"The problem is those who are afraid someone may be getting something for nothing,"

No, that's not the problem. In fact, the problem is that we have made it too easy to get something for nothing and we pay people who get NO exercise because the DON'T work so much money they can afford to buy CIGARETEES and BEER and lay up and MAKE BABIES.

I assure you that if we STOPPED WELFARE and made it where people HAD TO WORK IN ORDER TO EAT we would have a MUCH HEALTHIER population and LESS BABIES because they WOULD BE TOO TIRED TO you know what.

justthefacts
21409
Points
justthefacts 03/26/14 - 10:37 am
8
2
But Burn

Dee said this:
"Take an intact black family in which both parents finished school got a job, got married and had children in that sequence and you find their statistical analysis is the same as that of a white family."

deestafford
26620
Points
deestafford 03/26/14 - 10:49 am
4
3
burn, l'm all male. Dee is just a nickname given by my parents.

Burn, I'm all male. Dee is just a nickname given by my parents.

You are right, and as I pointed out, that black families under the same circumstances as white families will have basically the same data.

Forgive me for not making my points clear---It's not race. It's culture and mainly black inner city culture. One can ask, "How can it be 'black inner city culture' in Burke county?" What we have seen over the years is the migration through media such as TV of a culture from one locale to another. As such, the blacks in Burke country (and this is just an example) see blacks acting a certain way on TV and think that is the way blacks are supposed to act. Then couple this with the rap and gansta rap and you have a inner city black culture in Burke county.

The images one picks up through the media also holds true with the whites. Witness how many whites are wearing camouflage clothing as a result of what they see in the media and desire to copy.

It's not racial. It's culture.

One can see that when you see blacks who immigrate here from foreign countries do not for the most part want to associate with American blacks because they see what they perceive as the black culture and want no part of it.

Most of these want to assimilate into American culture which is predominately white. They want the American Dream and that is not the inner city culture..

So, please don't take my comments as put downs on the black race. Take them as put downs on the black inner city culture...which by the way is not restricted to the inner city nor to the poor. There are some rich blacks who are immersed in that culture as well as a few whites.

Young Fred
16807
Points
Young Fred 03/26/14 - 10:50 am
7
2
burn

You are absolutely correct - poverty is the key factor! It just so happens that a higher percentage of blacks are affected by poverty than most other racial classes. This doesn't just apply to our country, but applies to continents as well. You can blame the phantom bogey (white) man, or you can face reality.

Facts are facts, neither mean or racist! The FACT that blacks are more negatively affected by poverty is not an indictment of the race, it is an indictment of the policies that led to this outcome.

You can man up and confront the issue, or you can continue to excuse and perpetrate the very same policies that have insured the predicament that many blacks find themselves in.

Don't preach at me. I've been there and done that! I've seen it, felt it, lived it, first hand. "It" cuts across all races and is bringing down society as a whole, it just so happens, at this point-in-time in our history more blacks tend to be victims of insidious liberal "solutions" than other races.

Many claim it's purposeful. I used to scoff at such conspiracy theories, now I'm not so sure.

itsanotherday1
42278
Points
itsanotherday1 03/26/14 - 10:54 am
8
2
I

I concur with deestafford 100%. When whites embrace the lifestyle and attitude, the outcome is the same.

itsanotherday1
42278
Points
itsanotherday1 03/26/14 - 11:37 am
5
2
Access to healthcare

I am assuming ColCo ranking high indicates the residents have the means (transportation and money) to see a doctor when they need/want to.

slowrider
176
Points
slowrider 03/26/14 - 11:48 am
6
2
current welfare system perpetuates poverty= slavery

There is no difference... NO DIFFERENCE between our current welfare system and slavery of the past. The disparity and poverty of our area, highlighted by this article, seem to highlight this disaster... a true social epidemic.

The individual, white or black, is in chains all the same... they just look different in 2014 than 1863. The sinister fact is that through handouts, the person giving looks innocent, but is guilty.

I used to avow, along with academic colleagues, the social programs pushed by the "'enlightened, socially minded left." I repent of that past. It is a tragic mistake, that hurts way more than it helps.

We need more of the Goodwill Industry, Edgar's Restaurant type of movement to help bring people out of poverty, not just throw money at them.

Would love to hear our Mayoral candidates comment on this article. Great piece with good information.

slowrider
176
Points
slowrider 03/26/14 - 11:52 am
4
1
education+ employment+income

look how closely tied these three are... Stands to reason, but I don't see another association nearly as closely related.

Should all efforts be in addressing Richmond County Public Education? Is that the starting point?

Back to Top

Top headlines

UGA jumps up in 2 polls

The University of Georgia made the second-biggest jump of all the teams in the two national ranking polls, both of which were released Tuesday.
Search Augusta jobs