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Metro Newsroom

Public Health and Wellness Department Issues Health Screenings Report

Thursday June 19, 2008

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June19, 2008) Today the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness issued a report on the Community Health Screenings Project that took place among residents of west and southwest Louisville Metro last September 10 – November 9.

“The Community Health Screenings Project was an opportunity for us to asses the health status of the people in this area,” said Metro Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. Adewale Troutman. “We were able to deliver valuable health screenings to identify conditions that were negatively impacting their health. It was also an opportunity for us to make sure that people had follow-up care for the conditions that we identified.”

Funds for the $1.2 million project came as a result of an agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection over alleged violations involving the Morris Foreman Wastewater Treatment Plant.

To read the complete report on-line click here.  Here are some highlights:

  • A total of 2,407 people were screened, 2,309 adults and 98 children.
  • Nearly one fourth (23%) of those screened reported an annual income of less than $10,000. This compares to 11% of the overall Louisville Metro population with incomes of less than $10,000.
  • More than one-third (34%) of those screened reported having no health insurance, compared to 18% of the overall Louisville Metro population with no health insurance.
  • One third (33%) of those screened reported not seeing a physician last year because of the cost, compared to 14% of the overall Louisville population.
  • Nearly one-third (32%) of those screened rated their health a poor or fair, compared to 18% of the overall population.
  • More than 50% of those screened reported having one or more cardiovascular disease.
  • Nearly two-fifths (38.7%) of those screened reported having high blood pressure.
  • Of those who did not report having high blood pressure, more than one-fourth (25.7%) had an abnormally high blood pressure reading. 
  • Nineteen percent (19%) of those screened reported one or more respiratory diseases.
  • Nearly 15% reported having asthma.
  • Through the health screenings, 38% of participants were diagnosed with and treated for a health problem for which they had been previously unaware.
  • Client satisfaction with the screening process was extremely high, with 98% saying they were either very satisfied or satisfied with the screenings.

“The screenings may have saved my life,” said Steven Traynor. “I didn’t know that I had any prostate problems until the tests indicated cancer.  Since the screenings, I’ve had my prostate removed and I didn’t need chemotherapy. Now all my tests are normal and I’m feeling fine.”

The Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness also announced two new proposed health initiatives that are a result of the Community Health Screenings Project.

A colon screening initiative is providing free colonoscopies to Community Health Screening patients with no health insurance and is assisting those with insurance to get a colonoscopy. The Colon Cancer Prevention Project provided volunteer colon cancer specialists to conduct assessments of clients participating in the Community Health Screenings Project. Of those assessed, 941 fit the criteria for a colonoscopy, either because of their age or other risk factors. 

Project navigators, one navigator at the Public Health and Wellness Department and four at area hospitals, then contacted these people to guide them through each step of the process, from picking up the pharmaceutical prep, to being assigned to a physician, to making the actual appointment at the hospital for the procedure.

Forty one volunteer gastroenterologists are providing free colonoscopies to uninsured patients. All four area hospitals, Baptist, Jewish, Norton, and U of L, are donating their facilities. Salix Pharmaceuticals is also donating the colon cleansing prep.

Ray Terry, who received a free colonoscopy said, “This program was a godsend. I had some colon problems in the past, but I didn’t have health insurance. I jumped at this chance to get the colonoscopy. The process was simple and I came through with flying colors. It’s given me a lot of peace of mind.”

The Metro Public Health and Wellness Department is also proposing that $300,000.00 remaining from the Community Health Screenings Project be used to fund an asthma initiative for residents of the project’s target area.

The asthma initiative will focus on education and case management.  The Department of Public Health and Wellness will put together curricula and educational materials based on national models that have proven successful. Asthma education will take place through health care providers, at work sites and in the schools.

The case management aspect of the initiative will work with 50 – 100 families each year identified by Family Health Centers and by the Park DuValle Community Health Center as having asthma. Case managers will go into the homes educating parents about asthma and the various triggers of the disease. The initiative will provide materials such as mattress covers and roach traps to the families. Case managers will also make sure that their clients with asthma have access to medications and to appropriate social services. 

The new asthma initiative is waiting final approval from the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection.