The 2018 County Health Rankings were recently released.  The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income inequality, and teen births in nearly every county in America. The annual County Health Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. For more information on County Health Rankings please go to http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/.

In terms of overall health outcomes, Holmes County maintained its spot at number 7 out of 88 in the State, which is great!  However, Holmes County continues to rank last in the State in terms of clinical care outcomes; which includes access to primary care physicians, dentists, and mental health providers.  The rates of providers in Holmes County falls well below the average rates across the State.  In 2017, the ratio of Primary Care Physicians in Holmes County was 3,660:1 compared to Ohio’s ratio of 1,310:1.  Our ratio of mental health care providers in the County is 10,980:1, compared to Ohio’s ratio of 560:1.  Finally, the 2017 data shows a ratio of 3,140:1 for dentists in Holmes County, compared to 1,660:1 across the State.

In terms of overall health behaviors such as smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, etc, Holmes County fell to number 24 compared with 22 in 2017.   Most notably, our rates of obesity were higher than the State’s average, and data from Holmes County indicated far less access to exercise opportunities than in other county’s across Ohio.

These statistics are not surprising and mirror many of the findings in the 2017 Holmes County Community Health Assessment.  The Holmes County General Health District and many other community partners (The Partners for a Healthier Holmes County), have developed a Community Heath Improvement Plan (CHIP) to address health issues in Holmes County.  The CHIP’s priority areas include increasing access to care for primary care, mental health, and dentistry, decreasing chronic disease outcomes such as obesity, and improving mental health and addiction outcomes.  The Partners for a Healthier Holmes County have been working to implement new processes, programs, and interventions that will hopefully improve our overall health outcomes over the next 3 years.  More information about the CHA and CHIP can be found on our website: https://holmeshealth.org/data-reports/

The following chart shows our health rankings over the last 4 years.

County Health Rankings Measure 2015 2016 2017 2018
Health outcomes (Overall rank) 6 8 7 7
Length of life 8 5 9 8
Quality of life 8 10 7 10
Health factors 23 31 36 45
Health behaviors 10 23 22 24
Clinical care 88 88 87 88
Social and economic factors 14 13 14 22
Physical environment 1 1 1 1