Friday, June 5, 2009

Orrville Ohio as a A "True Community" Model for Healthcare X PRIZE

We have discussed in brief the opportunity to work with true geographic communities versus other types of communities (including employer based). One of the more interesting groups is from Orrville, Ohio and we received permission from their team leader to share some information on their initiative.

June 3, 2009

Dear Healthcare X PRIZE,

Frustrated by the prevalence of chronic disease and the concern that our children would suffer form the same ailments, we decided as a community that a change was needed in healthcare and we felt that that change would best be done at the community level. In 2003, a community coalition, Growing Healthy Habits (GHH) was formed to impact the health of our children. Obesity prevention has been and continues to be a focal point of the GHH initiative. Educating parents as to why childhood obesity must be addressed remains an important objective of the GHH initiative.

Meanwhile, healthcare costs continued to rise. A second initiative, the Healthcare Cost Reduction Coalition of Orrville (HCRC), was formed in 2007 in an effort to address the rising cost of employer and employee healthcare. Consortium members include physician groups, employers, the chamber of commerce president, and hospital and City of Orrville representatives. The goal of the HCRC is to integrate incentivized employee wellness programs into the price structure of employer-provided insurance benefits. Data from the wellness programs will be compiled and tracked in a community database or health information exchange and made available to the residents and industrial leaders.

Orrville, a community of 8,500 residents, is home to a critical access hospital, two family practice groups, a number of manufacturers, two grocery stores, four pharmacies, a city school system, and various restaurants and small businesses. In short, Orrville is a microcosm of society contained within a four-mile radius. Orrville has been recognized as a healthy community by the Ohio Department of Health for the past three years. The recent announcement of the X Prize Foundation regarding its healthcare initiative gives creditability to our efforts at local healthcare reform while acting as a catalyst for further collaborations.

Our goal is to make Orrville the healthiest city and wellness culture in Ohio We look forward to competing in the Healthcare X Prize to prove it!
Kyra said...

It's encouraging to read about the success thus far of the grassroots effort in Orrville, OH, to create a healthier community. It's equally encouraging that the X Prize Foundation is rewarding these types of efforts. In California, similar efforts are underway, in part under the umbrella of climate change. When reaching out to small businesses and local governments to take action to reduce climate impact, we have started to emphasis the co-benefits, including increasing community walkability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce obesity. Making the connections between key health and environmental issues can help streamline messages and lead to healthier communities for all.

- Kyra N. Shields, PhD
California Air Resources Board

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