Health

When things go wrong, people often say — at least you have your health.  United Way believes that the same is true for our community — good health is necessary for the Big Bend to thrive.

In May, UWBB created its first Health Council, comprised of people from every medical sector of our community.  This council is dedicated to creating solutions for the top three issues identified by our community through our strategic planning process.

 

Healthy Lifestyles/Education:
  • 62.5% of adults in Leon County are overweight or obese.
  • The southern and western areas of Leon County have been identified by the USDA as food deserts, meaning limited access to grocery stores and healthier food choices.
  • Leon County ranks 55th out of 67 Florida counties for healthy physical environment (air pollution, access to recreational facilities, access to healthy foods, and number of fast food restaurants).
  • 20% of youth in Leon County reported having used an illicit drug within the last 30 days.
Dental Health:
  • Only 23% of Medicaid enrolled children ages 18 and under received any sort of dental care in 2008.
  • In 2012, Florida was given an “F” grade for failing to enact stronger policies to improve access to dental care for disadvantaged children.
  • In Florida, too few dentists are willing to treat low-income patients because the Medicaid reimbursement rates are too low and do not cover their expenses.
Mental Health:
  • Approximately 17,000 people in the Big Bend area have some form of severe and persistent mental illness.
  • Medicaid recipients receive the most comprehensive services and access to providers while people with commercial insurance tend to have fewer providers to choose from, which can cause lengthy waits for care.
  • The legislature has not allocated “new” funding for DCF mental health services in approximately 15 years, causing the agency to limit its mental health services for adults with mild to moderate mental illness.
  • While there are over 100 high acuity psychiatric beds in Tallahassee (at the Apalachee Center for Human Services and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital), there are only 32 residential beds for individuals in the community with severe mental illness. Housing and discharge placement are an enormous challenge for this community.