Monday, August 12, 2013

Why Does The Chattanooga Region Need a Strategic Health Plan?

Southeast Tennessee is experiencing pervasive and complicated pediatric health challenges.  Our community is struggling with identifying the issues fueling these trends.  In addition, we lack an organized infrastructure that could develop and direct pediatric health resources to improve the region's health outcomes.

These pediatric health deficiencies have a dramatic, long-term impact our community.  Large cultural, geographic and socio-economic groups have limited access to care.  Many children are at a disadvantage due to poor maternal health, inadequate perinatal care, lower percentages of school readiness, obesity and increased impact of chronic disease.  These deficiencies exponentially increase the community's overall health cost, are barriers to improving the school system's performance, and limit the capability of our potential work force.

Many communities have recognized these identical challenges.  There is a well developed body of work analyzing community trends, identifying contributory factors and creating community-based approaches to address these problems.  We are also seeing aggressive and innovative restructuring of regional health care delivery occurring in all of Tennessee's major medical regions.  Chattanooga is critically off the pace for pediatric healthcare in this regard.

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