Officials not optimistic about health rankings

The 2016 County Health Rankings are scheduled to be released on March 16. Local officials are not too optimistic about Scioto County’s rankings improving.

The annual report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute examines every county in the United States and ranks them on a state level based on health outcomes and factors.

Typically, when the rankings are released, Scioto County is among the worst in Ohio in health outcomes and factors.

In 2015, Scioto County moved up in Health Outcomes from 88 in 2014 to 86 in 2015. Scioto remained ranked 86 in Health Factors.

In 2014, Scioto County placed last number 88 in health outcomes and 86th in health factors in Ohio.

Compared to 2013, Scioto County improved its health factors from 88th last year to 86 in 2014.

There are several people and organizations within and outside of Scioto County looking for the data associated with the rankings.

One organization paying particular attention is the Scioto County Health Coalition.

When asked about predictions for the 2016 rankings, Scioto County Health Coalition Coordinator Regina Tipton said, “I’m hoping that we at least maintain. We have to remember that the data is four years behind and hopefully we’ll start seeing the fruits of our efforts over the next couple of years.”

She said it would be hard at this point to determine what the 2016 rankings will look like for Scioto County.

With the rankings are released every year each community and person has access to mounds of data that can be used to inflict positive changes. Locally, officials with the Scioto County Health Coalition process the data.

“We can use data from the rankings to track any progress, we are seeing from our results,” Tipton said. She said the data from the rankings helps guide the coalition in the types of programs and activities offered.

When asked about possibilities for the 2016 rankings, Wendi Waugh, Administrative Director of SOMC Cancer Services and Community Health and Wellness, said, “I recently got the results of our Community Health Needs Assessment. Essentially the Community Health Needs Assessment has demonstrated that we are making a difference in our tobacco use, we have made an impact on access to care in our community and more people are seeking care and managing their cholesterol and high blood pressure.”

She said despite those successes, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

“Despite those successes, we are continuing to get larger and sitting is becoming the new smoking. That’s what I see with our Community Health Needs Assessment,” Waugh said. “We haven’t made a difference in terms of obesity, in terms of encouraging people to move more. From my perspective, I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Waugh will be presenting the results of the Community Health Needs Assessment at the next meeting of the Scioto County Health Coalition on Friday, March 11.

When it comes to the county health rankings, Waugh believes they might show an improvement in modifiable health risks.

She said one thing to consider is the data from the Community Health Needs Assessment is data from 2015 and the County Health Rankings uses data that’s four years old.

“The Community Health Needs Assessment uses data gathered from 800 people surveyed in the community. The County Health Rankings uses data in some conglomeration of a five year survey,” Waugh said.

For a more detailed description of Scioto County’s health rankings visit,

By Wayne Allen

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Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT