South GA minority care doesn't make the grade - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South GA minority care doesn't make the grade

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

June 20, 2008

Valdosta - The Georgia Department of Community Health conducted the first ever health disparities study and the findings were shocking.

The study found almost all south Georgia counties have inadequate health care for minorities and uninsured families.

Department officials came to Lowndes County to present the findings and help officials there make improvements.

It's a damaging report that shows Lowndes County isn't making the grade when it comes to minority health.  "We are use to thinking of ourselves as a very progressive community and maybe having all A's on our report card," says Dr. Lynne Feldman of the South Health District.

But there aren't any "A's" on the health report cards, the result of a study that identified health disparities in Georgia.

"Health disparities are a problem in this state and disparities are usually found amongst racial lines or economic lines," says James Peoples of the Department of Community Health.

It found Lowndes County's minority health outcome isn't up to par. The county received an "F" for prenatal care and birth outcomes.

"The mortality rates and the prenatal care is where the county had the worst scores," Peoples adds.

The highest grade was a "B". A shock to many health officials who are now applying for grants to improve minority care.

"We're already applying and have written a letter of intent for one of them and probably both of them and we attend to apply for both of those grants," Feldman says.

They hope that when the next study comes out, Lowndes County will be top of the class.

Dougherty County also received an "F" for mental health care access and only two "B's."

Atkinson and Berrien County were named two of the worst areas for minority health care in the state.

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