The Department of Health needs to hear from YOU

Alison Kerr, Director of Community Health Improvement Planning/Public Health Services Manager for the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on with the county.

The well-being survey is getting ready to kick off soon.

Kerr said, “The well-being survey is something that we do every five years here in Monroe County. The state of Florida has 67 counties, and all 67 counties are required to have a community health improvement plan. So we are about to embark on our next well-being survey, having it done the last five years back in 2018, we conducted one and now it’s time to do it all over again. The reason we have to do it every five years is because things change, different ideals and different political environments, physical environment, also health related environment. With the pandemic that took place in the middle of that five year period, we can only imagine that there have been multiple changes that have happened. So this survey has multiple questions that we want to ask the Monterey County residents.”

It’s a two-page survey that determines the health needs and concerns in Monroe County.

Kerr said, “Its general well being. The first section of the survey does ask some demographic questions, we first want to make sure that the person who is taking the survey is a Monterey County resident and lived here at least six months out of the year. We ask them about which part of the Florida Keys they live in, whether it’s Key West, Stock Island, Lower Keys, Middle Keys, or Upper Keys. We also ask about their zip code. We ask a little bit more questions demographically, but there are the top three questions that we really need people to answer.”

The first one is what are the top five health concerns that they, their family and their friends face?

Kerr said, “The second question we need people to answer is what are the top five social and economic issues that they face In Monroe County? It can be anything between lack of health information, affordable housing, that’s been a big topic, drug abuse as well. The third question we need people to ask answer is related to the what are the top five environmental health and safety issues? So they can answer anything between iguanas, climate change, water quality or even housing conditions in their apartment unit.”

The survey is available for people 18 and older and a variety of languages.

Kerr said, “It’s available currently in English. We’re still translating it into Spanish and Haitian Creole, but we believe that we’ll be ready within the next week or so.”

The survey can be found here:

The Department of Health offers a number of outreach programs, including the upcoming Halloween Health Fair.

Kerr said, “Tomorrow, we are going to be having our next event for outreach. We are partnering with Lower Keys Medical Center. We’re very, very, very excited about this partnership because this is an opportunity for residents to come out to the hospital and receive free health screenings. So in addition to the hospital, we are going to be having another guest, the Epilepsy Alliance will be there to provide free health insurance information and AH Monroe will also be there. We will be providing, as a team, screenings there the health fair that includes HIV testing, we’re going to be offering that at the health department booth and then immunizations, STD testing and the hospital is going to be administering glucose or sugar testing and also blood pressure screenings will be done by the EMS and then I will personally be providing bicycle helmets. I know a lot of people tended to put off their health care in the last two years especially during the pandemic, but they’re definitely not alone and this is a great time for anyone to come out at the hospital and receive these free health screenings.”

Insurance open enrollment is coming up, too.

Kerr said, “Open enrollment will be starting November 1, and that’s only a couple of weeks away. Monroe County, our region unfortunately has among the highest uninsured population. So we really want to emphasize the fact that it’s easy to enroll with free assistance. For anyone who doesn’t have health insurance, most plans are actually about $10 or less per month. The phone number to call for free assistance is 877-533-7453.”

For more information, click here: