The Fayette County Board of Health is involved in the effort to gain Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) accreditation status for District 4 of the state Department of Public Health (DPH) of which it is a part. Only four departments of districts statewide are currently accredited.
Fayette County Environmental Health Manager Robert Kurbes said the official application for accreditation will be made at the end of the summer. In preparation, collaborative meetings have been held and three priority concerns for the district and the county have been formulated, turning up some alarming statistics in the process. The priorities are poverty, access to care and obesity, Kurbes said.
Fayette is ranked 4th among the 159 counties in Georgia in overall health. The county’s population is 111,627 of which 8.5 percent live below the federal poverty line compared to 18.4 percent statewide.
Of local children, 12.1 percent are below the poverty line compared to 23 percent statewide. That ties in with the county’s median household income which is $83,100 compared to $53,500 statewide, said Kurbes.
Kurbes said access to care is an issue as well. There are 910 patients per primary care provider here compared to 1,520:1 statewide. There are 630 patients per every mental health provider compared to 830:1 statewide.
There are 1,050 patients per dental provider here compared to 1,980:1 in Georgia.
Fayette is slightly higher than the state’s average with 33 percent of its adults being considered obese compared to the state’s average of 30 percent, said Kurbes.
Related causes of death (deaths per 100,000) in Fayette/Georgia include: Hypertension 4.9/31, diabetes 19.6/21.1, stroke 37.9/44.2, heart disease 167.3/240.5, and cancer 130.2/159.8.
The local Board of Health consists of Chairman Ted Toles, Vice-Chair Dr. Loida Bonney, Commissioner Charles Rousseau, Becky Smith of Fayette FACTOR, school Superintendent Joseph Barrow, Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and Dr. Thomas Faulkner.
Board meetings are open to the public and are held at 7:30 a.m. in the Fayette County Health Department Conference Room. Upcoming meeting dates are Sept. 11 and Nov. 13.