Building Health and Wealth at #MACoCon

At the MACo Summer Conference Academy Elective session “Building Health and Wealth in Communities: A Sound Investment” audience members learned about the cost-effective and innovative ways local health departments are working to keep their communities healthy.

Henry Taylor, Deputy Health Officer for Carroll County, presented on the county’s Emergency Room Diversion Program for Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse services. Howard County’s Health Officer Maura Rossman presented on the county’s Community Care Team, a collaborative effort between the county health department, Healthy Howard, Howard County General Hospital, and The Horizon Foundation. These entities work together in order to decrease preventable hospital admissions and use empower residents to better manage their chronic conditions.

Building Health and Wealth Panelists and Moderator
Building Health and Wealth Panelists and Moderator

Meenakshi Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer, presented on engaging the primary care workforce in the county’s efforts to address chronic care diseases. Dr. Brewster shared the high costs chronic diseases (such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke and diabetes) have on society with estimates that by 2023 the seven most common chronic diseases will result in $14.9 billion in treatment expenditures and $66.2 billion in lost productivity in Maryland. To help reach patients and stem these costs the county launched a pilot program whose goals included improving ambulatory hypertension and diabetes management through team based care-strategies and increased use of community-clinical linkages.

Last but not least, Queen Anne’s County Health Officer Joe Ciotola shared the Mobile Integrated Community Health Pilot Program (MICH). The program, which is a joint effort between the Queen Anne’s County Health Department and the Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services, mission is “to improve health outcomes among citizens of the county through multi-agency, integrated, and intervention based health care.” Queen Anne’s County is a considered a “medical desert” as it has no hospital and only one free-standing emergency department. The MICH field team, which consists of a nurse or nurse practitioner, paramedic and behavioral health professional, helps fill that void by conducting home visits and connecting participants to community services.

The session was moderated by Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes and held from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s MACo Summer Conference theme is “Energize. Mobilize. Capitalize.” For more information about MACo’s Summer Conference, please visit www.mdcounties.org/MACoCon.

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