4/14/2018 9:55:00 AM Cass in bottom three counties in state health ranking
MONICA LUNDQUIST Cass County Correspondent
WALKER-The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute continues to rank Cass County as third from the bottom of Minnesota's 87 counties on a health rankings scale they have computed for the last nine years.
Renee Lukkason, Cass health team leader, said some improvements can be made by the county's health services, but others cannot.
"It's more than just what public health can do," she said. Public health does routinely work to discourage smoking and drug and alcohol use, to reduce obesity and to help diabetics monitor their glucose levels, she said.
Health outcomes in this report also are based on such factors as personal income, education, employment availability and the availability of health services, good housing and public transit, she noted.
Cass and the other counties ranking lowest in Minnesota have large overlapping Indian reservations, where ethnicity is a factor, where the tribal governments struggle to provide enough adequate housing and where public transit is nonexistent.
Reservations also tend to have a higher rate of people dying before the average 75 years old, the age considered to be the average lifespan.
Indian Health Services hospital at Cass Lake is the only hospital in Cass County. There are only small clinics in other cities.
Cass had only one primary care physician for every 2,390 people. There were 1,450 people for every dentist in Cass County. There were 1,210 mental health providers for every person in the county.
Cass had a 71 percent overall high school graduation rate and only 64 percent who had some college education. A quarter of the population's children live in poverty.
Three-quarters of Cass residents drive to work alone, partly because of the size and rural nature of the county. Of those working, 28 percent said they drive to work alone.
Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.