National Public Health Week

This is National Public Health Week 2013, announced the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department and the Marinette County Department of Health and Human Services.

This year’s theme is: Public Health: Save Lives, Save Money.

“Every year in the United States, seven out of 10 deaths are due to preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease,” said Steve Markham, Dickinson-Iron District Health Department Director/Health Officer. “In fact, chronic diseases account for a whopping 75 percent of national health care spending, yet only 3 percent of our health care dollars go toward prevention,” Markham said.

Research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than $16 billion within five years. That’s a $5.60 return for every $1 invested, Markham said.

“We all have a role to play in making our communities healthier places and the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department is excited to help lead the way,” he said. “Many small preventive steps can add up to make a big difference in transforming a health care system focused on treatment to one that equally values prevention.”

“Our nation and community simply cannot sustain the current trajectory of health care spending and chronic disease rates,” said Markham. “Fortunately, we know that investing in prevention and public health can make an enormous difference.”

Markham said that supporting public health approaches to better health does reap life-saving returns.

For example, research shows that each 10 percent increase in local public health spending contributes to a nearly 7 percent decrease in infant deaths, a 3.2 percent decrease in cardiovascular deaths and a 1.4 percent decrease in diabetes-related deaths. Public health and prevention are critical pieces in creating a healthier nation, he said.

“Public health is a positive return on investment,” adds Mary Rosner, Marinette County Public Health Officer. “When we invest in prevention strategies and health programs, we save lives and money.”

Rosner offers a couple examples: vaccines are one of the most cost-effective public health interventions.

For infants who receive the seven vaccines given as part of the routine childhood immunization schedule, society saves $9.9 million in direct health care costs; 33,000 lives are saved; and 14 million cases of disease are prevented.

On average, a $52 child safety seat prevents $2,200 in medical spending, Rosner said. This is a return of $42 for every $1 invested.

Call the Marinette County Department of Health and Human Services if you would like a certified child passenger safety technician to assist with the proper installation of your child or grandchild’s car seat. Much has changed in child seat development.

Shingles shots are also available, Rosner added. This vaccine is available to those 60 years and older.

Medicare Part D will cover a portion of the immunization. A resident’s out-of-pocket cost can be determined when they call to schedule the appointment.

If they do not have Medicare Part D coverage, the cost for a shingle shot will be $200, she said. Officials will provide patients with a receipt that they can submit to their insurance or flex spending account.

Parents must accompany children under 18 and should bring shot records.

Due to program funding changes, individuals with insurance coverage for vaccinations must see their primary provider for immunizations.

However, Tdap (tetanus plus whooping cough protection) is available to anyone due to the current outbreak in Wisconsin.

Medical Assistance will be billed when available for administrative fee only.

For questions about vaccines or eligibility status, call the Marinette County Health & Human Services Department at (715) 732-7670.

April Immunization Clinics include:

Crivitz: April 16, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Mary’s Parish Center in Crivitz.

Marinette: April 23, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 2500 Hall Ave. in Marinette.

Appointments at the Niagara site are available upon request. Call (715) 251-4769 for information.

“National Public Health Week helps educate and engage Americans in the movement to create a healthier America for ourselves and the generations to come. We all have a role to play in making America the healthiest nation in one generation. And it starts with each of us taking the simple prevention steps that lead to better health,” said Markham.