Smoking. Obesity. Gonorrhea: Lane County health suffers

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon is the worst in the nation when it comes to immunizations rates, and Lane County is the third worst of Oregon's 36 counties, said Jason Davis with Lane County Public Health.

Smoking rates are higher in Lane County than the state average, with 18 percent of adults, 24 percent of pregnant mothers and 40 percent of pregnant mothers on the Oregon Health Plan smoking tobacco.

And the rate of gonorrhea has double in the last year alone.

"But our population has not doubled, so what that really means is that our rate of gonorrhea in our population has increased," said Cindy Morgan, disease nurse with Lane County Public Health.

And while officials say the health of Lane County is not where it should be, the county coffers available to fund public health initiatives just keep shrinking.

They say the solution lies in prevention and partnerships.

"For every dollar invested in prevention," said Holly Hodges with Trillium, a private insurer, "you save three dollars in health care costs in the future health of that particular patient."

Trillium has taken over administration of health care for Oregon Health Plan participants.

And Lane County has partnered with PeaceHealth medical group to get the word out about new health care programs.

"It's not just the county's problem, it's not just PeaceHealth's problem, it's not just trillium's problem," said Dr. Rick Kincade. "The reality is, it's the entire community's issue to try and dealt with. We all want to be healthy."