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Lawrence County learns lessons from Delaware County

To be the best, you must beat the best, or at the very least, learn from the best.

Members of the Lawrence County Health and Wellness Initiative paid a visit to Delaware County Monday. The goal was simple, learn from the No. 1 county in health fitness in the State of Ohio.

“There is a concerted effort,” Les Boggs, county commissioner, said. “They said they don’t have a strategic plan to be No. 1 but they are No. 1. There were some ideas that I want to go back and look at and try to develop.”

Delaware County Commissioners Tommy Thompson and Ken O’Brien, along with other officials, fielded questions from 13 Lawrence County representatives who made the trip.

“We finished 88th and we are not satisfied with that,” Boggs said. “We don’t belong there and we are going to try to change the lives of individuals .”

The goal of the health and wellness initiative is to start slowly climbing out of last in the rankings.

“Hopefully next time we do the assessment, we won’t be in the basement,” Boggs said. “In the next three or four years, our goal is to move up 15 or 16 spots.”

According to Boggs, another goal is to raise the awareness of Lawrence County for the people who complete the assessments.

“There are things in our county that we are currently doing that’s not being reported to the people who do the assessments on how we rank,” Boggs said. “That’s a very important issue. For example, they look and say we don’t have a hospital in our county but if you look in Ironton, we are only six miles from King’s Daughters and Bellefonte. It’s the same in the upper end with Cabell and St. Mary’s. I don’t think those things have been reported.”

Boggs acknowledged that the health and wellness initiative has already taken steps to raise the health level in Lawrence County.

“We’re divided into six or eight subsets. Each group has a specific thing they are looking at,” Boggs said. “One group looks at health care. I’m on the group that deals with economic factors. There is one for environment, one for education, one for schools among others.”

The health and wellness initiative has also started helping individuals without insurance.

“One thing we’ve done to reach out to those without insurance is with a prescription discount program,” Boggs said. “It includes every pharmacy in the county, anyone who has to pay cash gets a discount on their prescriptions.”

At the next health and wellness initiative meeting, Boggs plans on making a presentation.

“I am going to show some of the things that we can do and what we can do better,” Boggs said.