Community health needs continue to be addressed

Matt Echelberry

February 18, 2014

The Crawford County Wellness Coalition met at Galion Community Hospital on Feb. 12, bringing together healthcare professionals from various fields and agencies.

Members collaborate to address the health priorities outlined in the 2012 Community Health Assessment, which was released in early 2013. The health priorities identified for the Crawford County community are: Arthritis, disabilities and chronic pain; heart disease and stroke; substance abuse; tobacco use; nutrition and obesity; and mental health disorders. The coalition is divided into task forces that each focus on a priority.

Avita Health System is the lead agency, but representatives from other entities are involved, including the Galion Health Department, Crawford County General Health District, Galion YMCA, Marion-Crawford ADAMH, Council on Aging, insurance companies, local school districts and local government officials.

Cinda Kropka, who serves as chair of the Wellness Coalition, informed the group she is still waiting on a grant proposal to the Community Foundation for Crawford County. If awarded, the funding will be used to target childhood obesity based on guidelines from the Center for Disease Control.

She also explained that Avita recently enacted a no smoking policy for all employees during work hours. There have been no complaints so far and some employees have even quit smoking entirely.

Galion Health Department Commissioner Dr. Steve Novack reported that 400 county residents were treated for opiate addiction last year, through the suboxone program. He did not know the success rate for the patients.

Novack felt the coalition should develop an annual tally of drug overdoses in the county. He said there was one confirmed death last year, but some overdose cases may have been transferred out the county (if a death occurs outside of the county jurisdiction, it is not factored in to the county’s statistics).

The group also discussed the new Drug Court pilot that Crawford County was selected by the state to participate in. Through June, 25 people will participate in a program specialized for addicts, in lieu of serving jail time. Note: This is not to be confused with the Drug Court being offered by Municipal Court Judge Sean Leuthold, which is not funded by the state.

Cindy Wallis, clinical director for Community Counseling Services, said that signs of suicide screenings have been scheduled at Bucyrus and Galion high schools. They are applying for a grant that would cover the cost of doing the screenings at Crestline High School as well, and the agency hopes to get into the other county schools eventually. At Galion last year, the screenings were very successful; more than 200 kids were screened. Seven of them tested positive for signs of suicide and were provided with counseling.

Wallis also said the agency is looking for office space in Galion to provide some services to the area, rather than making patients drive to Bucyrus. CCS just hired six new staff members specifically qualified to treat youth patients and five new support groups are now offered: Adult ADHD, parents of a child with ADHD, pathways to healing (for women who are victims of domestic violence), suicide support and positive parenting.