Scott Co. officials say they're making progress despite 'least h - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Scott Co. officials say they're making progress despite 'least healthy' ranking

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SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- Scott County is once again ranked the least healthy county in Indiana but local officials say they're making progress despite the unwanted title. 

Years before the HIV epidemic epidemic, officials knew the community had health problems. 

"The first rankings came out and everybody panicked we were 92nd out of 92," said Scott County Partnership Executive Director Jene Bridgewater. 

That was in 2010, the same year the "Get Healthy Scott County" coalition was formed to address some of the issues revealed in the rankings. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute research take several things into account, like quality of life, health behaviors and clinical care. 

"We're trying to create this community that's one of recovery," Bridgewater told WDRB News. 

We're told the coalition is focusing on substance abuse. The HIV epidemic was fueled by IV drug users sharing needles.  

The problem of addiction is tied to some of the factors weighed in the rankings, like mental health care. 

The research says the ratio of people to providers is 2,160 to 1 in Scott County, compared to 710 to 1 on average in Indiana. 

"We had a lot going on before but this has just exploded in the past six to nine months," Bridgewater explained. 

She says a lot of new services are available in Scott County in the wake of 2015's health crisis. 

"What I'm really excited about is I'm seeing organizations truly making an investment to increase services and coordinate services," said Scott Phillips, who's part of 'Get Healthy Scott County' and the clinical supervisor for the National Youth Advocate Program. 

But the rankings may not reflect progress yet because Bridgewater some of the data used is from a few years ago. She says the county is climbing and someday it won't be ranked as 92 anymore. 

"I really think someday it will happen but it still may be a few years down the road," she said. 

To find out where other counties in Kentucky and Indiana stand, click here

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