As Indiana counties go, Hancock County is near the top for health outcomes. The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute listed Hancock County as No. 5 in its 2021 health outcomes rankings. Hamilton County maintains the No. 1 spot, followed by Hendricks County, Boone County and Warren County. The study looks at several measures for community health concerns, including quality of life, health factors like smoking, obesity and excessive drinking, and access to healthcare.
There is always room for creating additional happier, healthy and well Hancock County residents. Hancock Regional Hospital’s 2020 Community Needs Assessment highlighted several priorities that should be addressed. By stepping up and addressing these needs, Hancock is answering the call to encourage a healthier, happier Hancock County and Indiana population base.
Cost of health insurance, healthcare and/or medications
Rising healthcare and medication costs, as well as health insurance costs, weigh heavily on the minds of Hancock County residents. In its 2021-23 Implementation Strategy, Hancock Regional Hospital is committed to exploring and establishing solutions that promote wellness. Planned programs include affordable screenings, charity care programs, a referral service for residents looking for specific treatments and educational workshops.
Addiction, drug overdoses and tobacco use/vaping
Addictions and drug overdoses remain a major concern for Hancock County residents, with more than 41% of respondents to Hancock’s Community Needs Assessment listing it as a top concern and 18% listing tobacco use/vaping as a top concern. In 2019, some 1,695 Indiana residents lost their lives to drug use. Opioids continue to be the most common substance associated with overdose deaths. Hancock Health is working with local partners to connect people to available resources for drug use, addiction and tobacco use/vaping concerns. The Healthy365 Connection Center will continue to connect individuals with referrals and services for preventing and reducing tobacco use and addressing mental health and substance use disorder issues.
Mental health and suicide
Hancock County residents are concerned with mental health, suicide and the stigma associated with mental illnesses. Indiana’s suicide rate remains higher than the United States’ average. Families who experience this devastating loss may struggle for support and understanding in the wake of unwarranted shame or embarrassment. Hancock’s Healthy365 Connection Center offers referrals for individuals struggling with mental illness or substance use disorders. The Healthy365 Rise Above It events have been designed to promote awareness of mental health and reduce the stigma associated with it. Hancock Health also is taking an integrated approach to healthcare, with counseling services available at selected OB/GYN, pediatric and internal medicine Hancock Physician Network offices.
Nothing kills more Americans than heart disease and stroke. More than 868,000 Americans will die of heart disease or stroke each year, accounting for one-third of all deaths. Cancer is the second leading killer, with almost 600,000 Americans dying from it each year. Such chronic conditions are major drivers in increasing healthcare costs. Wellness education is a powerful tool against this growing concern, and Hancock Health offers several different wellness programs. The Healthy365 Connection Center works directly with the Hancock Health Congregational Network to provide support and education through local faith communities. Artificial intelligence is becoming part of the solution, with Hancock Regional Hospital and the Hancock Physician Network auditing select Medicare patients to verify that all chronic conditions are being addressed.
Obesity and access to healthy foods
Obesity is more than just a waistline issue. It is linked to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, many types of cancer and a lower quality of life. With fast food restaurants dotting the landscape, many people wind up grabbing a quick burger and fries instead of a healthier, plant-based meal. Hancock Health sponsors several wellness and fitness programs, including the annual Hancock Flat 50 bicycle ride and the 60 for 60 program that refers appropriate patients to the Hancock Wellness Center for assistance from a dietitian, personal trainer and other services for 60 days at a cost of $60. Hancock is also redesigning its Health Harvest program, which brings local produce to residents throughout the summer and fall seasons.
Hancock County residents deserve to live healthier, happier and well lives. Hancock Regional Hospital remains committed to addressing the local community’s health concerns with innovative wellness programs and services. You can find out more about local offerings at our website.