Study ranks Mercer County low in public health

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — A recent study from US News and insurance company, Aetna, shows Mercer County is lacking in public health.

Twenty-six out of 100, that is the overall score for Mercer County according to a recent study from US News and Aetna. Jordan Pruett, the Community Lead Generator for Aetna, said the study looks at overall public health, access to healthcare, insurance, and multiple other factors.

“We’re kind of low in some of those categories just because of access to care. There aren’t a lot of primary care doctors in the area and especially special treatment, you’ll have to go out of the area to receive any type of care. And folks in our state typically don’t go to their yearly visits,” said Pruett.

Pruett said Mercer County ranks so low because a lack of access in care.

“We need more doctors in the area, more resources in the area and that’s hopefully something that’s going to be improving with some of this money from COVID that’s coming in as well,” said Pruett.

With a smoking rate of nearly 30 percent, he said that only further hurts the county.

“It’s not just affecting you as a smoker, it’s affecting the people around you while you’re smoking. So if you’re in a public place and people are walking past you and you’re breathing that smoke in their face, they’re going to see the side effects of that as well. So that’s a pretty high percentage and of course the state overall is a little higher than that, and we’re one of the highest in the country, unfortunately,” said Pruett.

Pruett said part of his role at Aetna is education and preventative measures.

“Preventive is the key in some of these health measures. If we can get these folks to get into those screenings, get into those well child visits, their adult visits, then we’re really going to see an impact with that,” said Pruett.

Pruett said with education, better access to care, and community change, the score could go up.

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