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Manatee County Health Care Work Session Report


BRADENTON -- Director Of Community Services, Brenda Rogers gave a brief outline to what the afternoon had in store. She then covered the expenditures, where the funds come from and their projections. Rogers then handed over the microphone to Dr. Jennifer Bencie, Administrator of the Manatee County Health Department. With some stats and some warnings through pie charts and some graphs, she delivered our report card.

Dr. Bencie started reviewing Manatee's medical history, back to 1984 when the county's first established the Health Care Advisory Committee, all the way to today's Health Care Fund. It was from the Health Care Task Force Recommendations that formed a community alliance to address health care issues regardless of consumer income or ability to pay, when the Healthcare Alliance was established in 2010.

Manatee still fairs well compared to most other counties and the state on average. Obesity among the young has reduced nearly 5 percent for middle schoolers and 1 1/2 percent for high schoolers, while running 2 percent under state average. Obesity among adults is running about 7 percent below state average and 10 percent under the national. Heart disease is running a somewhat similar path, although a little higher than the state level, but not as high as some counties.

Breast Cancer is higher than state, yet lower than national average, and that same trend is reflected for tobacco smoking. Tuberculosis is running higher in Manatee than any other localized counties, although that is contributed to the large amount of transient migrant workers that frequent the county. 

Heart Disease and cancer are still the leading cause of death in both the nation and the county. The good news is that they are both in a year to year decline. 

Jackie Dezelski, Vice President of Manatee Chamber of Commerce, took the floor and spoke about the unity of organizations and the formation of groups that tackle the challenges and trends as a whole. How information and alliances can help to achieve goals.

And last but not least was Board Certified in Health Law, Jonathan D Fleece, from the firm Blalock, Walters Attorneys at Law, who praised how far Manatee has come and commended the commissioners on how well the county has done to date. He assured them that the programs currently being practiced were on the right track. Fleece put heavy emphasis on integrating healthy programs of good diet and exercise how essential they are to accomplishing further goals and thanked everyone from the alliance and the county for being there. 

Commissioners then rightfully took a bow.

We could say, Manatee County got a pretty good bill of health. 



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